US Senate Democrats celebrate ‘patriotism’ with late-night chant

Image copyright NBC Image caption Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (right) celebrate bipartisan infrastructure deal Incumbent Democratic senator Tim Kaine and seven other colleagues reacted to the passage of…

US Senate Democrats celebrate 'patriotism' with late-night chant

Image copyright NBC Image caption Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (right) celebrate bipartisan infrastructure deal

Incumbent Democratic senator Tim Kaine and seven other colleagues reacted to the passage of a $1.5tn (£1.1tn) infrastructure bill by celebrating with a late-night chant.

“Put y’all hands up, stop! Where’s the patriotism?” they shouted on the floor of the Senate.

The legislation was part of a broader bipartisan agreement reached in the House of Representatives late on Tuesday.

The bill allocates more than $10bn (£7.3bn) to roads, airports and railways, but not to the kind of public works Trump promised during his campaign.

The US spent a record $2.2tn (£1.6tn) on infrastructure last year – but it is little more than half the national demand.

The House of Representatives also voted to undo an Obama-era policy designed to assist women in the workforce, forcing them to work harder to get preferential treatment over men.

“This is unacceptable, and it is going to stop. Under no circumstances will we continue with this plan that is in name only,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the vote.

Image copyright NBC Image caption The bill has been criticised for reducing money for railway, airports and railways

“The bill is bad and will be voted down by the Senate.”

The US Congress passed a $1.3tn budget last week but with no funding for Trump’s border wall, was forced to use an obscure budget reconciliation process to replace it with a spending package that avoided a government shutdown.

However, the so-called “BAFTA bill” – because it goes through the rarely used procedure known as a “budget reconciliation” – will have the same effect as a clean funding bill by passing with only Republican votes.

The restrictions on the bill’s language, which were passed by the Senate late on Tuesday, pushed Democrats in the House to reach a last-minute deal with a group of Republican negotiators.

The document was broadly expected to be viewed as good news for Democrats but with the limitations it has received some criticism.

Senators toasted the compromise, in which the bill scraps out-of-state telecommunication subsidies, removed trade restrictions on Medicare providers and is also targeted at promoting green energy projects.

The system of spending depends on more than 100 separate spending bills and cuts to various programmes; much of the cuts and savings in the recently approved budget are the equivalent of rounding off checks for already appropriated money, a Senate aide said.

“Let’s start paying our bills,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “or start finding different ways to pay them”.

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