WASHINGTON, -- Congress last approved major renewals of federal highway programs. The votes were 359 to 65 in the House and 83 to 16 in the Senate. Nearly every Democrat supported it, as well as strong majorities of Republicans.
The $1 Trillion infrastructure bill passed the Senate easily 69-13 with GOP support. However, it was rushed through the House by 228-206 with only 13 Republican votes. After the defections were reported, former President Donald Trump called them "traitors". Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a hard-right Republican, referred to them as "traitors" and tweeted their names and phone numbers. One of the 13 said he had received a death threat.
Six years apart, the votes and the harsh retaliation against Republican mavericks show a GOP where conservative voices have grown louder, more militant, fuelled by Trump's bellicose four-years in office. Both the increasing number of progressives and the sharpening of Washington partisanship have led to Democrats becoming more liberal.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), an 18-term moderate who claimed that his office received numerous threatening phone calls after his yes vote. One obscenity-laden rant in which the caller called Upton "traitor" and expressed his hope that Upton, his family, and aides would all die was one of those that aides provided.
Upton temporarily closed his Michigan offices and then reopened them after increasing security.
The bill this year is three times larger than the 2015 measure. It is a keystone to President Joe Biden’s push for creating jobsand building out the nation's roads and water systems, broadband coverage, and other projects. It is a compromise between Senate Democrats, Republicans and will send money to every state. This bill is the type of bill politicians love promoting back home for decades. Biden will sign it Monday.
Democrats claim that the GOP's opposition to the bill cannot be justified on both policy and political grounds.
"It's sad to see how the other side has lost its way," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is leading the House Democratic Political arm into a 2022 election in which Republicans have strong chances of winning congressional control. You act like the House Republicans if you want to see our country fail, so that you can claim things are bad and gain power for yourself.
Many Republicans see infrastructure projects as a political issue that they would once reflexively work on together for mutual and national benefits.
We are divided into two distinct tribes when it comes to policy. Glen Bolger, a GOP strategist and pollster, said that you should stick with your tribe and not try to help the others.
Trump, as president, repeatedly promised a massive infrastructure plan, but he never delivered one. This made the phrase "infrastructure Week" a Washington synonym for the "pipe dream", and was an important factor in the decision of GOP lawmakers to how to vote.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) stated that the notion that we're going have people on the fringe in terms of Marjorie Taylor Greenes and others, imposing some sort of a purity check on substance was lunacy. Since backing Trump's impeachment in early 2018, Cheney has been at war against Trump and the party’s far right.
Cheney opposed the bill because it contained provisions that would harm Wyoming. She stated that the 13 Republicans who supported it were "among our very best members", who did it "because they believed it was right for their districts."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky), was one of 19 Senate Republicans to vote for the bill in August. He is an unabashed partisan fighter. McConnell doesn't need to worry about being reelected before 2026. He said this week that he was "delighted" that the bill was headed to Biden.
McConnell had already attracted Trump's ire a day earlier.
Trump released a statement shaming GOP senators who backed the bill, saying that they "think that helping the Democrats would be such a wonderful thing do."
This was only the tip of an iceberg.
The leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus stated that GOP lawmakers should think about removing the 10 defectors from the posts of their members. These 13 Republicans are the most senior Republican members of subcommittees and committees. "I respect their rights to vote in their districts and their conscience. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said that this doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to lead the House Republicans.
Trump claimed he loved House Republicans, but not the 13 who voted in favor of the bill at a private Florida dinner Monday. An attendee said Trump's comments on condition that he remain anonymous.
House GOP leaders had tweeted earlier, but it was later deleted. They said that Americans would not forget a vote for the "socialist infrastructure bill." Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted, "Time to name names & hold these fake republicans responsible."
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. was the House Minority Leader. He said that it would be difficult for Republicans to support the infrastructure bill in their campaigns due to its close connection to the $1.85 trillion climate and social measure. The GOP strongly opposes it.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who switched parties in 2019, stated he supported the infrastructure bill as his state would receive more than $20 billion. Van Drew said he heard "some cranky stuff" from others and laughed at the idea that the bill would "catapult" the president politically.
He said that Marjorie Taylor Greene could be mean to him, and that he was fine with it. "I love America very much. "I would never do anything to harm this country."Updated Date: 11 November 2021, 12:37