The Republicans have left no stone unturned in expressing their displeasure over the comprehensive investment program that the US House of Representatives passed on Friday with the votes of the Democrats. Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy gave an eight-hour speech on Friday night to prevent or at least delay the vote. It was the longest speech in the history of the house. He did not finish his remarks until shortly after five o’clock in the morning.
However, the MPs streamed back into the chamber as early as eight o’clock, some joking about their lack of sleep. Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi promised she would make it short, and she did. With 220 to 213 votes, the House voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s package, which provides for around two trillion dollars (2000 billion) of investments over the next ten years, primarily in the areas of climate and social affairs. If actually implemented, it would be one of the most comprehensive investment programs in American history.
The fact that the implementation is in question is due to the fact that the Senate still has to give its approval. Both parties each hold 50 seats there, which means that all Democrats would have to agree so that Vice President Kamala Harris could cast the decisive vote in a stalemate. The Senate Democrats, however, are far from unanimous. The left wing wants an even more far-reaching program; among moderates it is considered too expensive. Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, in particular, have recently made life difficult for Biden by repeatedly calling for cuts. Originally, the president wanted to invest around $ 3.5 trillion.
Republicans reject the package, saying it is “socialist”
The trimmed plan is still tough. Biden alone will invest 500 billion dollars to promote the transition to renewable energies and cars with electric drives. Childcare should be guaranteed even before kindergarten age, there should be extensive help for tuition fees, investments in social housing and care for the elderly, and last but not least, there should be price controls for prescription drugs. The Republicans reject the package, among other things, arguing that it represents too great an intervention by the state and is therefore “socialist”.
If Biden were able to win the Senate over for his project, he could be sure of leaving something lasting as president. However, he doesn’t have too much time. His term of office will run until January 2025, but in all likelihood the Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives in November 2022 and possibly also fall behind in the Senate. Biden would then have extremely limited leeway to implement anything at all.