Big win for President Biden

When faced with obstacles, you have two choices: you can be either a half-glass empty or a half-glass full person. President Biden’s infrastructure bill is a half-full. Some will disagree but getting relief for our infrastructure is welcome. As AP reported, this legislation focuses on roads and bridges, public transit, passenger and freight rail, electric vehicles charging stations, the electric grid, airports, and water and wastewater, all of which are traditional infrastructure. These things all need to be addressed. One report quoted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as saying the bill “is bullshit” and she was not voting for it, and she and the remaining squad members voted against the bill. The safety net issues do need to be passed, but legislation is not an “all or nothing” proposition.

The passage of this legislation is a “win” that President Biden sorely needed. While the idea of using this bill as leverage to get the social safety net and climate change portions is good in theory, President Biden was not going to get that full bill passed this time around, and everyone knows that. “Throwing out the baby with the bathwater” is not a position to take when dealing with legislation. Some is better than none, and every one of the items that passed need the attention they will be given. AP reported that 173,000 miles and 45,000 bridges in the U.S. are in extremely poor condition. As the Biden administration pointed out, this is the first major investment in our highways since they were built. After what happened in Texas last year, we certainly need to shore up our electrical grid, and the administration included carbon capture technologies and environmentally friendly sources, which somewhat addresses climate issues. Life in general is about compromise, and that is certainly true in Washington.

  

No matter how you choose to look at this, it is a “win” for President Biden. He ran on the hopes that his history would allow him to pass bipartisan legislation, and this bill represents his first bipartisan victory. Biden is faced not only with Republican opposition, but progressives and centrists are fighting against each other, making things very difficult for Biden. As the New York Times reported, the entire Progressive Caucus was set to vote against the bill until centrist Democrats agreed to vote for the broader bill. Holding out on the bill that did pass accomplishes nothing, especially given that we need the money that has been allocated to shoring up our infrastructure. NYT also reported that Tom Suozzi of New York likened the “no” votes from Democrats to far-right Republicans who also refused to vote for the bill. Suozzi told NYT: “These are two sides of the same coin: People so far out on the fringe instead of trying to get stuff done to help people and make people’s lives better. That’s what people are sick and tired of.” He’s not far off the mark. Regardless of whether you see this glass as half full or half empty, you cannot say it is totally empty. Sometimes, you must take what you can get and keep fighting for the rest.

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