Common Ground profiles members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.
by SEAN GROSSNICKLE
The spirit of bipartisanship illuminates the halls of Congress when Republicans and Democrats work together in times of crisis to deliver the policies needed to move the nation forward. Yet, in recent years, compromise between political parties has been scarce and sporadic. President Biden campaigned on his record of crossing the aisle to work with Republicans, but his legislative agenda has garnered staunch opposition in the 117th Congress. Congressional Democrats succeeded in passing the first component of Biden’s “Build Back Better” recovery agenda back in March without Republican support, securing the $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan through budget reconciliation.
After passing the ARP, the Biden Administration launched an extensive lobbying campaign in Congress. Biden aimed to repair tattered relationships with Republicans who were cut out of the ARP and ensure that Democrats remained aligned with the administration’s infrastructure priorities in the second step of the “Build Back Better” agenda. President Biden initially sought $2.6 trillion in funding for his infrastructure priorities. However, his proposal was met with intense opposition, leading to months of back-and-forth negotiations.
After months of debate, the Senate reached a significant breakthrough in the infrastructure negotiations. On August 10, the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by a bipartisan majority of 69-30, with 19 Republicans joining Democrats to support the bill. The bill would authorize $550 billion in new federal spending on expanded internet access, roads and bridges, and other infrastructure projects. While the bill has a substantially smaller price tag than Biden’s initial ask, it represents the largest investment in public works and infrastructure in decades. At the time this article was penned, the bill still faces numerous hurdles to clear in the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to be on break until September 20. ■
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
The bipartisan infrastructure deal will be a record building and jobs boon for critical New York needs from Massena to Massapequa, and everywhere in between. Whether it’s the needs of the MTA, projects like Gateway, the Second Avenue subway, the East River Tunnels, Penn Access and others, this deal represents massive investments that will rebuild and revive the Empire State’s infrastructure. From clean drinking water to upgraded sewer to repairing bridges and subway tunnels, there is more work to be done, but billions are on the way to move on it, create good jobs, and advance critical projects.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
“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 common-sense solutions. By promoting sensible, collaborative legislation, we have shown that the Senate still works as an institution. This is an important achievement for Kentucky and the American people.”