- McConnell voted in support of Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan on Tuesday.
- He had long signaled he was open to supporting the bill as long as it didn’t cost too much.
- McConnell joined other 18 other Senate Republicans to approve the bill.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted on Tuesday to approve President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, a strong indicator for the steady GOP support it enjoys.
McConnell joined other Republicans in voting for the bill, which now heads to the House. If it’s signed into law, the legislation would provide a massive infusion of fresh federal funding into repairing roads, highways, and bridges, and upgrading broadband connections.
“I was proud to support today’s historic bipartisan infrastructure deal and prove that both sides of the political aisle can still come together around commonsense solutions,” he said in a statement. “By promoting sensible, collaborative legislation, we have shown that the Senate still works as an institution.”
The Kentucky Republican had long signaled he was open to backing the bill as long as its price tag was in the range of $600 billion to $800 billion. It ultimately contained $550 billion in fresh spending beyond what Congress already approved.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said McConnell may have wanted to show the upper chamber is still capable of passing major legislation – and reduce the appetite among some Democrats to approve a party-line spending plan.
“I think he wanted to help to try and demonstrate the Senate isn’t completely broken,” he told reporters before the vote.
However, McConnell’s backing won’t extend to the $3.5 trillion package that Democrats are starting to assemble for passage on a party-line basis. That social-policy plan will be focused on expanding healthcare, education, and childcare with tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and large firms. Democrats intend to approve it using a process known as reconciliation, which only needs a simple majority vote for certain bills to clear the Senate.
McConnell has repeatedly assailed it and said the legislation won’t draw any GOP support. “We can’t wait to get Democrats on the record over many more trillions of dollars in reckless borrowing,” McConnell said last week.