Politics

The Squad Voted Against Giving You High-Speed Internet, Clean Drinking Water

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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President Joe Biden’s landmark infrastructure bill passed the House of Representatives Saturday with affirmative votes from 13 Republican lawmakers, but without the support of six left-wing members of the Democratic caucus.

The original four members of “The Squad,” along with two more members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), voted against the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Leftists in Congress had wanted a vote to be held on the Build Back Better (BBB) reconciliation bill at the same time as the infrastructure bill, and The Squad withheld their votes as a result.

New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib are the six Democrats who voted against the infrastructure bill. The CPC chairwoman, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, voted for the infrastructure bill and insisted Congress will still be able to pass BBB. “We will have the votes to pass Build Back Better. And let me just say that when we do, it will be a phenomenal achievement for our country to say we’re not leaving anybody behind. This rule vote tonight is the beginning of the delivering of that promise. It is actually codifying that promise that our colleagues have made to us tonight.”

The infrastructure deal The Squad attempted to tank includes a number of popular provisions long-championed by Democrats, including the largest federal investment in public transit in American history, the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major highway projects and $7.5 billion for the expansion of electric vehicle charging networks.

The bill also includes $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water, including by eradicating lead piping in the U.S., and $65 billion to expand broadband internet access to every American. (RELATED: House Sends Infrastructure Bill To Biden’s Desk After 11th-Hour Agreement Between Liberals, Moderates)

Bush said in a statement she voted against the bill in the interest of saving lives: “Each and every one of my votes here in D.C. has been in the interest of saving lives. And tonight was no different. A vote in favor of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act alone would have jeopardized our leverage to improve the livelihood of our health care workers, our children, our caregivers, our seniors, and the future of our environment.”

Ocasio-Cortez expressed a similar sentiment, claiming the infrastructure bill doesn’t do enough and Democrats must continue pushing for BBB. “The cost to replace every lead pipe in the United States is $45-60 billion. BIF only gives $15b,” she tweeted. “Without BBB, many communities historically denied clean water will continue to be denied. Build Back Better has lead $ for disadvantaged communities. We must keep pushing for BBB.”

The fate of BBB remains to be seen now that The Squad did not vote for the smaller, bipartisan infrastructure bill. The White House, leftists in Congress and moderate Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Machin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have remained locked in negotiations on how to proceed with BBB.