Oct. 11, 2021
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reiterated its support for a stand-alone, bipartisan infrastructure bill last week while maintaining its opposition to Democrats’ proposed reconciliation bill.
With some Democrats trying to link passage of the critical $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to the more controversial $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the Chamber is urging businesses to stand with legislators who oppose connecting the two packages. “We supported [the infrastructure bill] because America is long overdue in making investments in our infrastructure, whether it’s congestion on our highways, potholes on our city streets, the lack of rural broadband for millions of Americans across the United States, or literally we still have lead pipes that water into people’s homes, schools and daycare centers that are literally poisoning them,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the chamber, during an interview on C-SPAN. “It’s good for America, good for American families and it deserves to become law.”
On the reconciliation bill, Bradley warned, “I hope that the president and the Democratic leadership come to the realization that lining to these two bills only means that nothing gets done – that we don’t replace those lead water pipes or fix those deteriorating bridges.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had originally set a Sept. 27 deadline for an up or down vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, effectively separating it from the reconciliation bill. However, after progressive Democrats threatened to withhold their support for the infrastructure package unless it was linked to the reconciliation bill, Pelosi pushed the deadline to Oct. 31. Negotiations are ongoing, but President Joe Biden told House Democrats in an Oct. 4 meeting that the price tag for the reconciliation bill would need to come down to between $1.9-$2.2 billion. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a key moderate legislator who previously said $1.5 trillion was his limit, told reporters on Oct. 5 that he would not “rule anything out.” The bill will need the support of all 50 Democrats, including Manchin, to pass.
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