Mitch McConnell defends vote for ‘popular’ infrastructure bill

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Mitch McConnell defends vote for ‘popular’ infrastructure bill

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his vote for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in the face of backlash from conservatives and criticism from former President Donald Trump.

McConnell said Thursday it was a victory that the infrastructure piece was split from the larger Build Back Better social spending plan, which the Kentucky senator said was doomed to die in the Senate if it gets through the House of Representatives.

“What it did was separate something that’s popular, 75 percent of Americans want to see the infrastructure addressed, from something that’s unpopular, which is what they were left with after that,” McConnell said on Fox News Radio’s “The Guy Benson Show” on Thursday.

His vote was conditioned on the bill not altering anything from the 2017 tax reform package approved during Republican control of Congress and the presidency.

“And it was largely paid for,” McConnell said of the infrastructure plan. “You could argue that it wasn’t fully paid for, but it was overwhelmingly popular, it didn’t raise taxes, and it separated out from the rest of the bill the popular part, leaving them only to deal with what I would call ‘the spinach,’ ‘the sugar’ having already cleared.”

McConnell said he believed the $1.75 trillion BBB set to go to vote in the House on Thursday would be dead on arrival in the Senate with likely opposition from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. He bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying it was “outrageous” to push the vote within her caucus.

“She’s literally walking them off a cliff to support a bill that will never become law,” McConnell said.

United States Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema has been more moderate in terms of spending than other Democrats.
Rod Lamkey / CNP

McConnell has repeatedly defended the infrastructure bill, which made it through the Senate and got through the House with 13 Republicans supporting the measure. GOP supporters are facing criticism from other members of the GOP caucus. Trump has also had harsh words for his rival McConnell and the 13 House members who supported the infrastructure bill.

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