Sinema slams Dem leadership over ‘inexcusable’ failure to hold vote on infrastructure bill
Biden pushes infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill amid spending battle
Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram has the details on ‘Your World’
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on Saturday tore into Democratic leadership over what she described as an “inexcusable” failure to hold a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill — a move she said betrays the trust of the American people.
“The failure of the U.S. House to hold a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is inexcusable, and deeply disappointing for communities across our country,” the moderate Democrat said in a lengthy statement. “Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity, and better broadband only hurts everyday families.”
The vote on the bipartisan legislation in the House was delayed as the far-left wing of the Democratic caucus refused to back the bill unless there was an agreement on a separate $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package packed with left-wing spending priorities and tax increases.
Democrats conceded that the votes were not there to pass the infrastructure bill, with talks still ongoing with moderate Democratic — including Sinema — to come to an agreement on the reconciliation package. Moderates have sought to bring down the massive price tag of the bill, which can pass the Senate without a Republican filibuster if it can drum up the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.
After the progressive wing flexed its political muscle to block the infrastructure package, Sinema slammed what she described as “an ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal.”
“My vote belongs to Arizona, and I do not trade my vote for political favors — I vote based only on what is best for my state and the country,” she said. “I have never, and would never, agree to any bargain that would hold one piece of legislation hostage to another.”
The lawmaker said she had helped deliver the infrastructure bill, while engaging in “good-faith” negotiations” on the reconciliation proposal.
“Good-faith negotiations, however, require trust,” she said. “Over the course of this year, Democratic leaders have made conflicting promises that could not all be kept — and have, at times, pretended that differences of opinion within our party did not exist, even when those disagreements were repeatedly made clear directly and publicly.”
“Canceling the infrastructure vote further erodes that trust. More importantly, it betrays the trust the American people have placed in their elected leaders and denies our country crucial investments to expand economic opportunities,” she said.
Sinema’s statement came hours after President Biden said “everybody is frustrated” over the Democratic division, but that he would “work like hell” to get the bills passed.
“I support both of them. And I think we can get them both done,” he said.
On Saturday, the White House also released a statement saying that Biden left a meeting on Friday with caucus Democrats “with the firm belief that there was a shared commitment from across the Democratic Caucus to deliver for the American people.”
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“The President and his team will continue close engagement with Members of both the House and the Senate through the weekend,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “And he looks forward to not only welcoming Members to the White House next week, but also traveling the country to make the case for his bold and ambitious agenda.”
In a letter on Saturday, Pelosi told Democrats that she wants the infrastructure bill passed before the end of the October.
“There is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline, after last night’s passage of a critical 30-day extension. We must pass [Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework] well before then – the sooner the better, to get the jobs out there.”
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