House Passes Bipartisan Broadband Infrastructure Bill, But Without Reconcilation Measure

After a push by President Biden, House leaders allowed for a vote on the infrastructure legislation, with some GOP support.

House Passes Bipartisan Broadband Infrastructure Bill, But Without Reconcilation Measure
Photo of President Biden speaking on Saturday morning about the passage of broadband infrastructure legislation

WASHINGTON, November 6, 2021 – The House passed the bipartisan infrastructure measure on a 228-205 vote just before midnight on Friday, with 13 Republicans joining most Democrats to pass the long-lingering measure.

Dubbed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, H.R. 3684, the $1.2 trillion measures includes $65 billion in funding for broadband infrastructure and deployment, and has been widely anticipated by the broadband industry for months.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” President Joe Biden said Saturday morning at the White House, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris. “We did something long overdue, that has long been talked about in Washington, but never actually done.”

Biden called the bill a “once-in-a-generation” investment that would create millions of jobs and improve America’s economic standing. He also specifically highlighted its role in “making high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America.”

He also decried how some parents will wait in a McDonald’s parking lot to access Wi-Fi connectivity that may not be available at home.

Biden said he and Harris would have a formal signing ceremony for the measure “soon,” citing the desire for those who worked on the legislation to be able to attend.

The infrastructure package and its broadband components remains broadly popular. It passed the Senate in August on a 69-30 vote. On Friday, the House passed the Senate-passed version of the package.

However, its fate has become entangled in partisan politics over a separate $1.75 trillion budget reconciliation measure with funding for addressing climate change and social spending.

The infrastructure bill was particularly sought by moderate Democrats. The reconciliation measure, the “Build Back Better Act,” is of particular concern for progressives. Hence the two bills were caught in a standstill as each faction of the Democratic Party wanted their preferred bill to be passed first.

On Friday, Biden urged progressives to end their blockage of the measure and send it to him immediately. Tuesday’s election results appeared to lend greater urgency to this objective.

He made that plea public at 9 p.m. Friday night: “I am urging all members to vote for both the rule for consideration of the Build Back Better Act and final passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill tonight,” he wrote. “I am confident that during the week of Nov. 15, the House will pass the Build Back Better Act.”

Enough progressive relented from their pledge to block infrastructure until reconciliation was passed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi felt confident enough of securing a majority that she put the measure for the vote.

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