Democrats scramble to pass infrastructure bill with Joe Biden legacy at stake

The tense negotiations tested the political acumen of Mr Biden, 78, who bragged about his rare ability to strike deals in an often cantankerous Congress.

A failed vote on the infrastructure bill would cost Mr Biden valuable political capital ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when control of both houses of Congress will be ballot.

It would also jeopardize the fate of the sprawling $ 3.5 trillion investment in America’s social safety net, which is part of Mr. Biden’s “build back better” agenda.

“Infrastructure for social welfare”

The $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, which includes U.S. rail networks, roads, bridges, airports as well as investments in high-speed internet access and the nation’s water supply systems has won rare bipartisan support in the 50-50 split Senate.

But the package suffered heavy concessions, especially cuts to climate-fighting clean energy projects, before being passed through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, which angered progressives.

They warned they would not back the package unless they received assurances on the $ 3.5 trillion welfare bill from two leading Democratic refractories – Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Republican senators fiercely opposed the massive spending bill.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the Democratic House, described the tense negotiations on Capitol Hill going “hour by hour”.

Ms Pelosi, known to be a formidable vote counter, had promised to call the infrastructure bill for a vote on the House floor on Thursday.

But with rival media briefings organized by moderate and progressive Democrats throughout the day, it emerged that the two factions were at a stalemate.

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