Democratic leaders experienced a setback on Thursday. The vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill supposed to modernize American roads, bridges and boost clean energy, was postponed for Friday as policymakers needed more time to reach an agreement.
The bill had to be passed on Thursday by the US House to be sent to President Joe Biden for final signature.
The failure for the infrastructure bill 2021 to receive support was due to a divide between Democrats on whether it should be a priority before the largest $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that will fund paid family leave, Medicare expansion, universal prekindergarten, and strong measures to combat climate change.
“A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever. But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.
Those Democrats in favor of the spending package, though, refused to back the larger bill without an agreement on the $1.2 trillion US infrastructure bill. The delay is seen as a humiliating blow to Joe Biden and Democrats and their efforts to get the vote.
Given the divide between the Democrats’ left flank and a few centrists on the larger bill, it is also not clear when or even whether the two spending packages would get the votes and whether Mr. Biden’s economic agenda could be revived.
The bill includes a large amount of money towards environmental provisions like $5 billion for electric cars for the federal government, $50 million for community climate incentive grants, and $1 billion for an “electrical vehicle charging equity program.” It is also supposed to drive the shift towards electric vehicles with new charging stations and fortifications of the electricity grid.
The infrastructure bill update from Thursday is a disappointment for those relying on Biden’s pledge for improved infrastructure and modernization. However, Democrats are said to stay firmly behind both legislations despite some efforts from Republicans to kill them.