Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is criticizing progressive Democrats for holding up a bipartisan infrastructure package unless a larger spending bill is passed.
In a statement on Friday morning, Romney wrote, “This week, my colleagues in the House made a purely political decision to block a vote on a 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,” he continued.
Finally, the Utah senator added, “What a profound disappointment, and how unfortunate to put politics over what is good for our country.”
Read the statement below:
It is unacceptable that our bipartisan infrastructure bill, 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. pic.twitter.com/Pj1gKU3GqU
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) October 1, 2021
Romney’s statement comes after the House once again postponed a vote on a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package as moderates and progressives failed to reach a deal on a separate $3.5 trillion spending package.
In August, the Senate voted 69-30 to pass the infrastructure, with 19 Republicans, including Romney, voting for it. However, senators have not taken up the spending bill.
Progressives have demanded that Congress pass the larger spending package, and have threatened to sink the infrastructure bill unless the two pieces of legislation are both passed.
Senate Democrats are hoping to use budget reconciliation to pass the spending bill with just 51 votes, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. The Senate is divided 50-50, which means all 50 Democrats would have to vote for the legislation for it to pass.
However, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have both expressed opposition to voting for a bill that has a $3.5 trillion price tag.
“I can’t support $3.5 trillion more in spending when we have already spent $5.4 trillion since last March,” Manchin said in a statement on Wednesday. Additionally, he called the spending in the bill “the definition of fiscal insanity.”
And in a statement on Thursday, Sinema reiterated her opposition to a $3.5 trillion package.
Without either of their votes, the legislation would not pass the Senate.
While Romney claimed that “extreme Democrats” are holding the infrastructure bill, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) claimed that “conservative” Democrats were holding their priorities “hostage,” as IJR reported.
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