Despite previous expectations of GOP unity in the face of Democrat demands for massive infrastructure spending, it appears increasingly likely that at least some Republicans — such as Reps. Adam Kinzinger (IL) and Fred Upton (MI) will defy party leaders and support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as the Washington Examiner notes.
It was announced last week that GOP leadership in the House would whip member votes against passage of the $1.2 trillion package, regardless of the potential willingness of 19 Senate Republicans to vote for the bill.
That development was the result of Democrat efforts to tie the legislation’s passage to that of a second social spending reconciliation bill totaling upwards of $3.5 trillion in cost, dubbed the the “Build Back Better” plan, as the Examiner added.
The fate of the smaller infrastructure bill has been placed in jeopardy in recent weeks by internecine battles between moderate Democrats and the far-left faction of the party, with the Congressional Progressive Caucus threatening to vote against it if it were brought to a vote in advance of the reconciliation bill.
While the Democrats can shed just three votes before they will need to obtain the support of some Republican colleagues, some lobbyist groups maintained hope that sufficient GOP votes could be peeled off for the bill to succeed anyhow.
As the Examiner noted, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together a list of 57 House Republican targets viewed as potentially persuadable in support of the infrastructure measure, and though it remained unclear late last week precisely how many of them might join the Democrats, several appeared open to the possibility.
According to Politico, the key determinant of the level of Republican support potentially available for the infrastructure bill has always been whether or not Democrats would be willing to detach it from the exorbitantly expensive reconciliation bill favored by the progressives.
The outlet noted that Republican support in the House for the bipartisan bill could triple if the bills were separated from one another, with Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) declaring, “If the $3.5 trillion reconciliation push dies, there will be more GOP support,” adding that if “there is a standalone vote” on the smaller package, the Problem Solvers Caucus of which he is a part would be willing to help generate votes.
On Sunday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) informed Democrats that a vote on the smaller infrastructure bill would be held on Thursday, rather than Monday as previously planned, declaring confidently that same day, “I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.” Exactly how the vote tally shakes out in terms of party, however, remains to be seen.