Sinema to attend White House infrastructure bill signing

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, one of the two moderate Democrats in the Senate who have raised concerns about the price tag of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, will be at the White House on Monday for the signing of the infrastructure bill, her spokesperson confirmed to CBS News.

President Biden is set to sign the $1.25 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday, which passed the Senate over the summer and the House earlier this month. Sinema was one of the key negotiators in the Senate bipartisan infrastructure group and the lead sponsors of the bill. 

The bill includes $550 billion in new spending on the nation’s physical infrastructure and has been praised by Mr. Biden as the largest investment in roads, bridges, ports, water and rail in decades. The measure provides $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for railways. It also provides $65 billion to expand broadband infrastructure and $55 billion for clear water investments.  

Nineteen Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted for the bill. However, McConnell said he will not be attending the signing. 

House Democrats Meet Behind Closed Doors To Discuss Legislation With Pres. Biden
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) arrives to a closed-door meeting Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) at the U.S. Capitol October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In the House, 13 Republicans crossed the aisle and voted for the bill on November 6, but it lost the support of six progressive Democrats, who wanted a vote on Mr. Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending plan — known as Build Back Better — at the same time. In that same early morning session — which came after a day of high-stakes negotiations among Democrats —  the House did clear a key procedural vote on the social spending plan that will allow for a vote on it later this month.

Moderates in the House objected to voting on Build Back Better until the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had weighed in on the bill’s financial impact. 

The CBO is expected to announce its findings Monday. The CBO score is necessary before any Senate vote due to budget reconciliation rules.

Build Back Better is being sent through the Senate via the reconciliation process, meaning it can pass with only 50 votes — but Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote since no Republicans are expected to support it. Senator Joe Manchin, who, along with Sinema, had been one of the loudest Democratic critics of the plan, indicated last week he wants more details about the bill’s economic impact.

During the negotiations over Build Back Better, Manchin and Sinema demanded large cuts to the bill, especially on climate and prescription drug costs. Progressives in the House repeatedly said they wanted assurances from Manchin and Sinema that they would support the bill, but the pair have so far refused. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier this month that Sinema supported the deal to lower the price of prescription drugs, one of her key disagreements. 

Kristin Brown and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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