With infrastructure passed, Democrats set sights on spending

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The President is speaking after his Infrastructure bill was finally passed in the House of Representatives after negotiations with lawmakers on Capitol Hill went late into the night. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOVEMBER 06: Joe Biden speaks during a press conference in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 2:18 PM PT – Saturday, November 6, 2021

Joe Biden is standing by his partisan reconciliation package, saying he believes it will pass both the Senate and the House.

“I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to see what happens in the Senate and whether or not I need only Democratic votes, which is likely, the likely outcome. And the question is, can I get all of those votes,” said Biden. “This is a process. And all along, you’ve told me I can’t do any of it anyway.”

At a press conference on Saturday, Biden stressed that passing the bill is a process. The Democrat said he was glad the bipartisan infrastructure bill was able to be passed separately from the spending package so that new jobs could be created. This, as bickering continues within the Democrat Party.

However, House progressives aren’t as happy as Biden. Up until the vote took place, they were sticking to the standard that the only way to pass infrastructure was to pass Build Back Better by its side.

Moderate Democrats worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and gave assurances they would support the bill after it’s scored by the Congressional Budget Office. They said they want to make sure it’ll cost no more than what the White House is claiming it will.

Six progressives including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, voted against infrastructure because they were promised the bills would be tied together. Others like Ro Khanna (Calif.) came around to voting for the infrastructure bill, but only after last minute attempts to force Build Back Better onto the floor. He said if they both went to the floor together without scoring, they would still have passed and he’s concerned separating the bills would allow moderates an out of supporting Build Back Better.

“First of all, what we want is to have the vote on both bills,” said Khanna. “That’s what the president wanted. He wanted the vote on both bills today and those votes, I believe, would pass. The question is if we have that conversation and vote on the rule, how do we know that we actually have the caucus’ commitment to vote for Build Back Better two weeks from now.”

In the Senate, Build Back Better faces even lower odds of making it through the process with moderate Democrat Joe Manchin (W.Va.) maintaining his position as the most notorious question mark on the bill’s passage. He said the U.S. isn’t a left wing country and wants to keep spending at responsible levels.

“We just have to work together. We can’t go too far left,” said the senator.

After passing the infrastructure bill, the House adjourned for a week long recess. The CBO still needs to score the Build Back Better legislation, but House leadership said they believe it can be passed by Thanksgiving, regardless of the infighting.

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