The Squad, Unfazed by Election Rout, Forces Biden to Rely on GOP Infrastructure Votes

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday evening passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package—a key piece of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.

But House Democratic leaders failed to convince some of their own members to vote in lockstep on the legislation. Instead, a group of Republicans supportive of the infrastructure package helped deliver a legislative victory for the Democrats, as several progressive members of the party voted against the bill.

The legislation passed in a vote of 228 to 208.

Despite a rough week for their party that saw a loss in a pivotal gubernatorial race in Virginia, six Democratic progressive lawmakers voted against the infrastructure bill. They included Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Progressive Democrats have insisted for months that they will only support the infrastructure bill unless legislators also pass the Build Back Better Act, a sprawling spending bill that includes funding for a variety of social programs and initiatives to combat climate change.

Moderate House Democrats said Friday that they would commit to voting for the Build Back Better Act "as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information" about the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), "but in no event later than the week of November 15th."

In response, Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, stated that members of her caucus and other Democrats had "reached an agreement to advance both pieces of President Biden's legislative agenda."

"Our colleagues have committed to voting for the transformative Build Back Better Act, as currently written, no later than the week of November 15. All our colleagues have also committed to voting tonight on the rule to move the Build Back Better Act forward to codify this promise," she added.

But the agreement wasn't enough to convince some progressive members. Therefore, Democrats had to rely on Republicans who backed the infrastructure package to get it over the finish line. Thirteen House GOP lawmakers voted in favor of the bill.

Biden Forced to Rely on GOP Votes
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday evening passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, a key piece of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda. But House Democratic leaders failed to convince their members to vote in lockstep on the legislation. Above, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wroblewski

Some Republicans criticized members of their party for backing the Democratic legislative priority. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene went so far as to call the 13 Republicans traitors.

"6 Democrats did more than these 13 traitor Republicans to stop Biden's fake Infrastructure bill by voting NO," Greene tweeted, listing the six Democrats who opposed the legislation.

"They have more balls than these R's," Greene added.