Sen. Kyrsten Sinema slammed Democratic Party leadership for the House’s “inexcusable” failure to hold a vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan public works bill on Friday.
“The failure of the U.S. House to hold a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is inexcusable, and deeply disappointing for communities across our country,” Sinema (D-Ariz.) said in a statement on Saturday.
“Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity, and better broadband only hurts everyday families.”
Sinema joined many fuming moderates who criticized Democratic leadership’s decision to pull the bill from the floor on Friday in order to salvage additional time to negotiate President Joe Biden’s sweeping $3.5 trillion social spending bill.
Moderate Democrats and other supporters of the public works bill had hoped to pass the $1 trillion bill Friday, then negotiate the rest of Biden’s health care, education and climate change bill in the days to come.
“Congress was designed as a place where representatives of Americans with valid and diverse views find compromise and common ground,” Sinema said.
“What Americans have seen instead is an ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal.”
Sinema said the Democrats’ move was a betrayal of trust, after ongoing negotiations have been filled with empty promises that could not be kept.
“Good-faith negotiations, however, require trust. Over the course of this year, Democratic leaders have made conflicting promises that could not all be kept — and have, at times, pretended that differences of opinion within our party did not exist, even when those disagreements were repeatedly made clear directly and publicly.
“Canceling the infrastructure vote further erodes that trust. More importantly, it betrays the trust the American people have placed in their elected leaders and denies our country crucial investments to expand economic opportunities.”
Other moderate critics included Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who said in a statement Friday her Blue Dog Caucus members “view this as counterproductive to our caucus’s negotiations and ultimately harmful to our ability to find common ground. It also unfairly punishes millions of Americans who want clean water, broadband internet, repaired roads and bridges, and strong climate provisions as soon as possible.”
In a letter on Friday, Pelosi told Democrats that she wants the infrastructure bill passed before the end of October, while praising a 30-day extension to fund the Highway Trust Fund after Democrats failed to strike a deal.
“While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task. Our priority to create jobs in the health care, family and climate agendas is a shared value. Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill,” she said in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Friday evening.