Yahoo! News – October 1, 2021

Sen. Mitt Romney on Friday blasted House Democrats for blocking a bipartisan infrastructure bill due to disagreements within the party.

The Utah Republican tweeted Friday that House Democrats made a “purely political decision” to block the $1.2 trillion bill, which he said is “much-needed broadly supported legislation to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure.”

“It is unacceptable that a major piece of bipartisan legislation, which is vital to our economy and necessary to keep important transportation programs going, is being held hostage by the most extreme House Democrats for a completely unrelated and still unwritten piece of legislation,” Romney said.

“What a profound disappointment, and how unfortunate to put politics over what is good for our country,” added Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

Romney’s statement came the day after Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown and divisions within the Democratic Party left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unable to proceed with the infrastructure bill as planned.

Pelosi initially vowed to bring the bill up for a vote Thursday, but she was unable to do so when the centrist and progressive wings of her caucus, the White House, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin did not reach an agreement late into the evening.

In a Thursday evening “Dear Colleague” letter, Pelosi said it was “a very productive and crucial day.”

“It has been a day of progress in fulfilling the President’s vision to Build Back Better,” Pelosi wrote. “Thanks to so many Members and staff, the work is being done. Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill.”

The Senate already passed the infrastructure bill with bipartisan support, and centrist House Democrats have called for an immediate vote on the bill. But progressive House Democrats have said they will not vote for the bill until their demands are met on the Build Back Better Act, a broad social spending bill that has yet to be finalized and totals up to $3.5 trillion.

But Manchin has said he will not vote for a social spending bill exceeding $1.5 trillion, imperiling the future of the president’s agenda.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office advised members to expect a vote on the bill Friday.