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Don Lemon Tonight

House Votes And Passes Infrastructure Bill. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 05, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Thanks for joining. You just saw "Trumping Democracy: An American Coup." Republican after Republican telling the truth about then-president's attempts to overturn our democracy and hold on to power. But the threat is far from over, and every one of us needs to step up if we want to protect our democracy. And we will discuss that in a minute. But first, first, we've got some breaking news.

I want to turn now to CNN's Jessica Dean on Capitol Hill.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, after hours and hours of negotiations all throughout the day, right now, the House is finally voting on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. This has been back and forth all day.

Remember, the original plan was that the House was going to vote on the Build Back Better Act on Thursday and the bipartisan infrastructure bill today. Well, that got all scrapped. They almost didn't have a vote at all today. There has been a lot of push and pull between the various factions within the Democratic Party.

And the way this all landed was just moments ago, the moderates that had been hold out on the Build Back Better Act issued a statement committing to vote on that by November 15th once they get a score back from the CBO. In return, shortly after that statement went out, we heard from the chair of the Progressive Caucus, who said that after getting that assurance from those moderates, that progressives would move forward in voting for the infrastructure bill tonight as well as a rule, which is a procedural vote, on the Build Back Better Act.

Now, put an asterisk next to that because we do expect some Democrats to vote no, not all progressives will likely vote for this. So, keep an eye. We are keeping an eye on that and who that might be.

We are also keeping an eye on if Democrats get some republican support on this. Remember, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working with a three- vote margin here and she does not like to bring things to the floor before she knows she has the votes. So, it is likely they have the votes, but we are watching this play out right now in real time with a giant piece of President Joe Biden's agenda hanging in the balance.

Now, on that point, I want to go to the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, to my colleague, senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly, for more on what is going on in at the White House. Phil?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, you noted that you are obviously watching this extremely closely, so is everybody over here. The president and his top advisors as well as Vice President Kamala Harris have been in the residence making calls, figuring out what is going on over the course of the last several hours.

And this is just the latest of what has been a lengthy day of effort by the White House and White House officials trying to figure out some kind of path forward.

And just to kind of lay things out in terms of where the White House was on all of this, just give you the play-by-play of where the Hill has been, kind of the cluster of sorts that has been going on over the course of the last 12 or 13 hours, you track back to 8:30 a.m. this morning and the White House got the kind of news that you would think could turn this into a monumental day.

Jobs numbers that were better than expected, 531,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate going from 4.8 percent down to 4.6 percent with the very clear goal to have both of the president's two-piece $3 trillion domestic agenda through the U.S. House by tonight. Of course, as the hours moved on, that started to fall apart.

Six moderates in particular making clear to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to White House officials that were physically in the Capitol that were back here working the phones, that they were not willing to move forward on both the infrastructure proposal and the $1.9 trillion economic and climate package unless they had a Congressional Budget Office score. That is not likely to be available for at least a week, perhaps longer.

Even though White House officials over the course of several hours, last night and this morning, we're producing their own preliminary budget estimates trying to make clear not only is a bill paid for but the bill would come out to about $2 trillion dollars and still be paid for with some of the additions that were made over the course of the last several days, with those moderates being unwilling to move forward, that left it up to the progressives.

And right now, I want you to listen to Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She just finished. We are going to actually keep going here. Why that matters? Pramila Jayapal obviously has been a critical player throughout the course of the last several months, the chair of about 90-plus member progressive caucus that has flexed its muscles repeatedly over the course of the last several months.

Every time Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a deadline in the House trying to move the president's infrastructure bill forward, the progressives have made clear they will not support that unless there is a vote at the same time on the second package, that $1.9 trillion package.

[23:05:00] That shifted tonight. Here is why. With the moderates holding out, the White House and Speaker Pelosi shifted their attention towards progressives, trying to figure out if there was a way to move forward on the infrastructure proposal and just the rule to govern debate on that $1.9 trillion economic and climate package.

Now, without taking you down the rabbit hole of House procedure, what that would mean essentially is that as they waited for that Congressional Budget Office score, they would push off that $1.9 trillion proposal in terms of a final House vote but they would vote to pass the House infrastructure proposal.

Over the course of several hours, including multiple private phone calls from President Biden directly to Pramila Jayapal, directly in to a closed-door meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus where the speaker -- where the president was put on speaker phone and basically, according to sources I have spoken to, made very clear to progressives tonight is the night this needs to get done, what do you need to help get that across the finish line?

The answer, and why you are watching a vote right now on the House floor on that infrastructure proposal, was a statement, a statement filled with assurances from those six hold out moderates backed by President Biden, a statement that progressives said if it was detailed enough, would allow them to vote to move it forward.

Just a short while ago, after even more delays, both the moderates and progressives put other their statements. The president put out a statement giving his assurances earlier tonight. Now, there is a vote. There is still a question about whether or not Democrats have 218 votes to move forward. There are expected to be some Republicans who will support this proposal. That is what we are watching right now, how Democrats break down, how many Republicans joined them.

Speaking of Republicans, moderate Republicans who have been known to join bipartisan efforts up to this point, I want to bring in former Congressman Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania.

Congressman, we spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill together. You have been through a lot of late nights like this, negotiations that seem intractable, that had breakthroughs and then fell apart again. I want to get your read on what exactly we have watched over the course of the last 12 or 13 hours and what it means for Democrats as they try and move forward right now.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, to me, it looks like they are finally going to vote on this bipartisan infrastructure bill. Frankly, they should have voted on this thing back in August. They probably would've had close to 80 House republican votes back then.

But because they tied the infrastructure bill so closely to the 'build back better' or the reconciliation bill, they just lost republican votes in big numbers. They will probably get somewhere between 10 to 20 republican votes for this bill tonight. That was last week. Who knows what the number is? But -- so, I think it is really unfortunate. I thought House Democratic moderates were very much mistreated throughout this process. They had an agreement to vote on this infrastructure bill by September 27th in exchange for voting for a budget resolution. And the leadership and the progressives basically (INAUDIBLE) deal. And so, here we are.

And now, if they pass this infrastructure bill -- now, the House Democratic moderates will have some leverage. This might actually end up separating those two bills. And once this bill is signed into law, the infrastructure bill, then we will see what happens on 'build back better' because that piece of legislation is still half-baked. It is simply not ready for primetime, and that is why they are not voting on it tonight.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's unquestioningly the case. It is part of the primary reason progressives have been so wary about moving forward while that bill was still very much in process, not just in the House but also in the Senate, where it is probably even further away from a finish line up to this point.

Congressman, I wanted to dig deeper into kind of the broader perspective in a minute. But in terms of the voting right now, you mentioned that obviously this is bipartisan in the Senate, 19 Republicans voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. You are very aware that there have been a couple dozen Republicans who are at least considering voting for this in the House. Everything I've been told lines up with what you are saying, those numbers have reduced dramatically over the last several weeks.

At a moment like this, when the speaker knows she is likely to have a few progressive no votes at least, does the speaker know -- had a hard count on how many Republicans are willing to join Democrats to try and get this over the finish line?

DENT: I am fairly certain she does. I have talked to some of the House Republicans who have told me they have been in conversations with the White House. And again, last week, I think they had a solid 10, maybe as many as 20. If this bill hits 218 votes, with those 10 Republicans, I think you will see more Republicans jump on board to help move it along further.

So, I think she has a solid count. Nancy Pelosi, she is a good vote counter. And so, I think you will see at least 10 and maybe more. Once they hit that 218 number, then we will see maybe a little mini avalanche of Republicans joining in.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, that is always the best, when people are sitting in the back of the House floor waiting and watching as people log their votes when they cross that threshold. You make an interesting point, though.

I want to bring in Mark McKinnon. He is the co-anchor of a wonderful show called "The Circus."

[23:10:00] Obviously, a former political advisor as well. He is at the Capitol right now or outside the Capitol right now. One of the things, I think, folks maybe don't appreciate as much, we've all been talking about the Democrats back and forth, progressives, moderates, where the White House is going and how they have tried to thread the needle.

The White House also is in contact with, as Congressman Dent was saying, with Republicans. Obviously, they work with Republicans to get that bipartisan bill across the finish line. They have close contacts inside the problem solver group, which is a group of a couple dozen or more Democrats or Republicans who are trying to figure out pathways for it.

But Mark, I guess the question right now, when you look at kind of the broad scope of what this day became, what does this mean if Democrats are able to pass the president's infrastructure proposal, send it to his desk tonight, despite what we have seen over the course of the last 13 hours?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Great to talk on the sausage making, Phil. Think about this week. What we had, Tuesday, was probably the worst day of Joe Biden's presidency. This day, Friday, could possibly be the best day of Joe Biden's presidency. If they pass this vote tonight and it looks like they will, you will have the biggest legislative victory with this bill and then presumably the other one coming down the line, but he will have the hard infrastructure in his pocket.

Great job numbers today. An announcement on a drug therapy that basically means that even people who get COVID with a 90 percent rate would not have to be hospitalized or there will fatality. So, on the COVID front, the economic front, and on the infrastructure vote, which is a big domestic agenda for the year, those are three big wins. That really helps after disaster at beginning of this week (INAUDIBLE) for Joe Biden.

Now, of course, Republicans are going say, they can't wait to get their teeth into this human infrastructure bill and talk about the trillion of dollars in taxes. I mean, what is going to happen after all of this? This is a sort of Republicans have what they want to go after, but Democrats also have something to sell.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. Mark, that is a great point. Democrats have something, which had been the question particularly after Tuesday about where things are headed.

Mark, Charlie, I want you to stay with me for a second. I want to bring in my colleague, Manu Raju, our chief congressional correspondent. Manu, I understand you were just speaking with or at least in the gaggle with Congresswoman Jayapal. What is kind of your read on things at this moment in time?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. They talk to reporters. They didn't answer any questions from reporters. Jayapal has not been answering questions all evening long as she has been in these negotiations with the centrist Democrats.

All day long, they have been essentially squabbling over this strategy, what we have seen happening for months. But they announced just moments ago that they have an agreement to move forward. The progressives say that they will move ahead at the infrastructure bill. That is on the floor right now. At the moment, it doesn't appear that -- there are five Democrats who have voted no on the infrastructure bill.

We are waiting for some of the names here, Phil, but some of those have been -- some of the progressive members from Pramila Jayapal's own caucus are threatened to vote against this bill, but there are seven Republicans who are voting yes. So, enough to offset those democratic defections.

At the same time, the moderates have agreed to vote for the larger $1.9 trillion social safety net expansion later this month, assuming that the Congressional Budget Office comes out with an estimate showing that it is fully paid for.

And what Josh Gottheimer, who represents the moderate wing of the party, said is that they will ultimately vote for the larger bill tonight, assuming that the liberals do vote for the infrastructure bill, which appears to be happening.

So, right now, the vote tally is at 194 to 182. So, now 196 yes votes. So, 218 is the magic number, assuming all the members are present and voting. They appear to be on their way to getting this bill to Joe Biden's desk. It will be a significant victory after months of bickering over this strategy.

Now, Jayapal and the progressives changed course over the course of today. Jayapal had indicated directly to the president that she would not vote for the bill tonight because it was not moving in conjunction, at the same as the $1.9 trillion bill. That led to a series of conversations, including one very long conversation with Biden and the entire Congressional Progressive Caucus behind closed doors.

They talked about how to get way forward. They talked about coming up with a statement from those moderates to say that they will ultimately get behind that larger bill. That essentially forced Jayapal's hands. She backed off of her demand for these two bills to move together in conjunction. And as a result, she said that she would back this strategy.

So, shift from the progressives. Moderates will get to wait to vote for that larger bill when the large cost estimate comes out. But at the moment, they appear on the way to getting the infrastructure bill passed. More than -- about 203 votes now, 205. So, Phil, any minute now, they should pass the threshold, and Joe Biden will soon get this bill on his desk.


MATTINGLY: A significant victory. No question about it. Manu, what we've been sharing, about 150 text messages over the course of the last 10 hours. It is nice to actually speak to you again. Hang with us. Keep an eye on that vote.

We are going to take a quick commercial break. Charlie Dent, Mark McKinnon, Manu Raju, who is all over everything at all times on Capitol Hill. After this break, we're going to come back. We likely will get the final vote on the infrastructure proposal which at this very moment, according to the best in the business, Manu Raju, seems very on its way to surpassing the 218 votes needed to pass. We'll be right back with the end of that vote. Stay tuned.



MATTINGLY: Welcome back. I'm Phil Mattingly, live from the north lawn of the White House where we have a critical and potentially very significant moment for President Biden and his administration and his domestic agenda.

I want to go straight to Jessica Dean. She is on Capitol Hill for us live. Jess, we've been watching this vote play out. I want to read you a text message I just got from House Democratic lawmaker that just says, let's go! Many Os after one another, which I think mean something just transpired. What is going on?

DEAN: Yes, there was a lot of let's go and a lot of cheering that just came out of that House chamber right there to my right because they crossed the threshold to 218, which means the bipartisan infrastructure bill has passed and that it is headed to President Biden's desk for his signature. It will become law.

Now, the vote continues to be ongoing. You can see the vote count right there. You see that Republicans helping out Democrats there so far with 11 votes that they have contributed to this. We also have seen some democratic defections. So far, by our count, that is six votes, six Democrats who voted against that. But again, they have offset each other.

And the bottom line here, Phil, and you know this as well as anybody, this has been months and months and months in the making, Democrats have hemmed and hot (ph) and pushed and pulled, and now, tonight, roughly 11:20 p.m. on a Friday, third time is the charm, right? They have passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill and it will be headed to President Biden.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, it is significant. I want to make very clear that you guys are the one standing outside of all the late-night meetings on the marble hallways that just do not do well with the joints. So, you are doing the real work.

DEAN: Not with sore feet, no.

MATTINGLY: Jessica Dean, thanks for the update. And as Jess just made clear, passing the 218 threshold -- 218 is the majority in the U.S. House. That is what Speaker Pelosi and Democrats and President Joe Biden, who has been in the residence watching all of this play out over the course of the last couple hours, wanted to see happen.

The vote is still open, which means it is not officially passed yet, but passing that threshold is what everybody was looking for. What a critical moment this is for the president, for his administration, for his negotiating team, and for Democrats on Capitol Hill who just made very clear have struggled mightily over the course of several months to try and find a way to unlock the pathway for this infrastructure proposal.

A $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal, something that the president put on the table, the first piece of his dual prong domestic agenda, something that the U.S. Senate passed by a very wide margin. Nineteen Republicans voting with every Democrat to pass this measure in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. You have to wonder what that signing ceremony may look like at the White House in the days ahead.

Right now, I want to bring in my buddy, Toluse Olorunnipa, from "The Washington Post." Toluse, I think given how this day went, maybe the expectation is going into it. Obviously, the jobs numbers and then everything devolving into the circus that really defined the better part of the last several months, I would say. Ending at this point, getting things across the finish line on a very significant component of the president's domestic agenda, what does this mean for this administration?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: It means $1.2 trillion that they can go out and campaign on. They're realizing that they need to have a message going into the midterms. What they saw earlier this week show that they did not have something strong to campaign on. Now, they do. They can point to some of the things that this bill will fund. You know, money for new buses, money for high-speed internet, money for high-speed rail, things that people will actually feel in their communities.

President Biden can say, I got this done. Not only did I get this done, but I got republican votes. I've got Republicans to support infrastructure. We saw President Trump announce infrastructure week after infrastructure week and he said he would be the dealmaker and chief and that didn't happen.

Now, Biden has a $1.2 trillion bill which is bigger than the stimulus bill that happened under Obama, bigger than most of the Trump economic agenda pieces except for the tax cuts, and bigger than any kind of infrastructure bill that we have seen in a generation.

So, Biden will be able to say that he has delivered on his promise, that he worked across the aisle, that he got something that both Republicans and Democrats voted for. Now, he still is going to have to work on the other part of his agenda and getting some of the progressives, the defected, getting them on board and making sure that he passes the second half of his agenda.

Getting this on his desk after the summer and the fall that he had from Afghanistan to the drama over this this bill will definitely be a sigh of relief and a sign that he will be able to go into the midterms at least saying that he passed something and his agenda has been put into motion.

MATTINGLY: Toluse, one thing I have been trying to figure out over the course of the last several days is it looked like things were heading in this direction. It is giving kind of the (INAUDIBLE) of the better part of the last several months.


If this got across the finish line, obviously, the second piece of this still has ways to go and a lot of negotiations to go despite the commitments tonight, but the president delivering on infrastructure, if he delivers on the second piece as well, will voters, will the public remember the better part of the last four or five months of Capitol Hill negotiations or are all they're going to remember is the kind of Rose Garden signing ceremony or whatever? What is your sense of things?

OLORUNNIPA: One year is a lot of time. It is a year for Democrats to get their message together and campaign on what they are passing before the midterms. So, there is a lot of time for the White House and for Democrats to try to show that what has happened over the past several months was really just water under the bridge, just the sausage making process.

As long as people are getting checks in their pockets, the roads are getting fixed, they are getting internet, they are getting the things that are in this bill as well as the things that are coming along in the social spending bill, and as long as that is what the American people want, which is what Democrats are basically sticking their midterm prospects on, then they will be able to put a lot of the drama of the past few months in the background.

They have got time to do it. They are now in the midst of passing bills and they get to feel the exhilaration of actually doing something in Washington, which is so rare. Maybe that will be what is needed to push forward this other part.

UNKNOWN: The ayes are 228 and the nays are 206. The motion is adopted.


MATTINGLY: And you could hear the cheers right there from the House chamber as the gavel went down. They passed the president's infrastructure proposal, $1.2 trillion. This is not something that has several more steps to go on Capitol Hill. This is headed to the president's desk after the ceremony on Capitol Hill. You can feel a relief to some degree.

Obviously, I'm not in the chamber right now. I'm down at the White Bouse. But for Democrats who have struggled to try and figure out some way to unlock at least this of the two proposals, $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal, $1.9 trillion economic and climate package, the latter obviously still has ways to go.

I think if there is anything we have seen over the course of the last several weeks, even months, there are still very real trust issues between progressives and moderates.

But that is part of the reasons I want to bring Jessica Dean back in right now. You are here trying to calm Democrats down to some degree with the gambling. I want to get to that point. Do you think that this marks a breakthrough on the trust perspective, which still even about an hour ago did not seem like it was in a great place between progressives and moderates?

DEAN: Yeah. I mean, it is a great question. We have really seen things move so quickly just in the last hour where these various sides were really at odds with each other, and that trust issue has been something that we have come back to again and again as this has moved through both the Senate and also the House and all of the various machinations.

You have to think that with them moving forward and progressives buying in, moderates giving them what most of them found acceptable. We did see, as I mentioned, some progressive Democrats voting against this, a handful of them. But you have to think that this is a way forward.

Now, they have turned their eyes, of course, to the Build Back Better Act, which those moderates have committed to voting on by November 15th. And they are waiting on that CBO score. That is going to take some time to get back. But that is certainly what progressives want to see. And you can bet that is what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House leadership wants to see.

I mean, Phil, they were in and out all day. People in and out of their office. We waited outside her office for hours today and saw various members, various caucus is going in to really plead their case and really trying to thread the needle from all of these various pieces of the democratic caucus.

So, of course, they're hoping that they can now move forward and get the second part of President Biden's agenda passed. But it is big to see this move forward tonight because, Phil, I think as you certainly know, just an hour ago, maybe 45 minutes ago, there were real questions about whether there were votes to get this done. Now, we know the answer to that.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, getting across the finish line when the blue stream goes up and it makes clear the House is in recess.

DEAN: Oh, yeah.

MATTINGLY: We are waiting for a vote. Everybody is groaning because it is probably past 11 p.m. But also, it is unclear what the pathway forward is. One thing we know, Jess, I know you are going to stay with, we will get back to you after this break.

But Democrats found the pathway forward on at least one piece, one significant piece of the president's domestic agenda. We've got a lot more to come here. We are keeping a very close eye on this. There is another vote left to come. There is actually two. There will be a republican procedural vote, and then there will be a vote on the rule to govern the floor consideration of that $1.9 trillion economic and climate package.

What does that all mean? I promise you I spent a lot of years on Capitol Hill, I will explain all of the procedural dynamics in a little bit. Stay with us. We've got a lot more reaction, a lot more news to come.



MATTINGLY: Welcome back. I'm Phil Mattingly at the White House, at a pretty significant and monumental moment for this White House. The president's infrastructure proposal, one part of his two-part $3 trillion domestic agenda, is now headed to his desk.

Two hundred and twenty-eight to 206 was the House vote. Nearly all Democrats, a few progressives voted against, joined with a handful of Republicans to help get it over the finish line and give the president a significant legislative victory.


One that has been out of his grasp now for several months as Democrats to some degree waged war on one another as they've tried to figure out a pathway not just for the infrastructure proposal but also for the $1.9 trillion economic and climate package, which is still right now being worked through.

We are still waiting for official White House reaction, but we do have a tweet from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying -- quote -- "proof that delivering for the American people is worth all the painful sauces making. Clean drinking water for kids, broadband access, electric vehicles, biggest investment in public transit. It is happening. And more to come."

Now, a couple of key components in this infrastructure proposal was what Jen Psaki was listing there. But she was also making a little joke, given the fact that probably, roughly, 95 percent of the last six months of White House briefings, she has made some type of reference to sausage making as it pertains to the legislative effort.

We've been trying to figure out new, different ways she could possibly describe what's going on in Capitol Hill. But it is tried and true. We've all used that description at one point or another. That was White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

I want to bring in CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju who has witnessed a lot of sausage making over the course of his congressional career. Manu, we have the final vote now. Obviously, this is heading to the president's desk at some point in the next couple of days depending on the process.

What is your sense right now with the move from the Democrats given the fact that even up to the very end, it wasn't quite clear, everybody was thrilled, and some progressives still voted against this? RAJU: Yes, some did. There was just so much tension, Phil, over the

course of the day in talking to both moderates and progressives. Remember, this day started with the hope among the Democratic leaders that they will not just pass the infrastructure bill but also the House would approve its version of the larger expansion of the social safety net, the sweeping economic pack which includes also $550 billion for climate funding, dealing with $1.9 trillion to prop up the U.S. economy in a whole host of ways.

But that essentially fell apart, the effort to push that through because a handful of moderates said that they would not vote for that bill because it did not give an official score, official cost estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

So, then Nancy Pelosi tried to figure out another way forward. She said, okay, we will wait on that and instead we will try to push forward the bipartisan infrastructure bill instead and also move forward the procedural vote to take up the larger bill later this month.

That is when the progressives barked. They pushed back. They said, we don't want to do this because for months, they have been demanding that both bills move together. In fact, they have first demanded the Senate approve the larger bill first before the House would even add on infrastructure. Then, they backed off that and said at least the House should at have passed the infrastructure bill and the social safety net expansion at the same time.

Tonight, they were forced to back off that position as well because Joe Biden made an aggressive lobbying campaign, calling the Progressive Caucus in a meeting that went for about four hours long, talking to the head of the Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, having multiple meetings with members and ultimately trying to get the two warring factions together.

The moderates ultimately agreed to put out a statement saying they would support that larger bill later this month assuming that when the Congressional Budget Office gives their cost estimate, it comes back fully paid for.

At that point, Pramila Jayapal said that was essentially good enough for her, a commitment from the moderates. Not a vote to pass that bill but a simple commitment. And that led to what we saw tonight, which was that vote.

But, Phil, you mentioned there was some dissatisfaction on the left, some of the names who voted against it on the democratic side. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Jamal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Talib, they were clearly not happy with the direction this was going.

But they had enough Republicans who offset those losses, including John Katko who is a moderate New York Republican, one of the 10 who voted to impeach Donald Trump, Congressman Don Bacon from Nebraska, among a handful of other Republicans like Fred Upton of Michigan and Don Young of Alaska, Adam Kinzinger, too, the retiring Illinois Republican.

So, there are enough Republicans who voted ultimately to stave off those democratic defections. But it clearly was not easy. They finally got this to the president's desk after a bill that was approved by the Senate in August. Phil, we will see what happens with that larger bill because when it comes up, presumably it comes up in mid-November, they can only afford to lose three votes.

Will those moderates say they will ultimately vote yes? Will something change? Things have been changing minute by minute around here. We will see if anything happens by mid-November. And then if the get out of the House, the Senate is a whole different complication with Joe Manchin and others already vowing to change the bill.


So, still a long way to go to get the larger bill done. But at the moment, the White House is celebrating getting the infrastructure bill to the president's desk.

MATTINGLY: I started chuckling, Manu. One, this has been a remarkable rollercoaster of a day but also recognizing how many steps we still have to cover over the course of the next several weeks with that $1.9 trillion package.

Manu Raju, stellar as always, my friend, on Capitol Hill. Thank you very much.

We are going to take another quick break. There is a lot more I want to get into, in particular the president's role over the course of this day. Manu alluded to it. This was a shift from the president in terms of a very forceful and clear call on progressives to vote tonight. What is it going to take to get there? We have to figure this out and move it tonight.

There have been a lot of Democrats over the course of the last several weeks that have wanted the president to be more forceful, wanted him to be more definitive about what he wanted and when he wanted it. Today, tonight, he was unequivocally. Today, tonight, the president has his infrastructure bill across the finish line.

More reaction, more news, more details when we come back.



MATTINGLY: Welcome back. We have been covering breaking news, significant breaking news, for President Biden, for Democrats, the House and in the Senate as well as a significant component of the president's domestic agenda.

That domestic agenda has been stalled, seemingly locked up, and democratic divide over the course of the last several months is now headed to the president's desk. The House moving forward to pass the president's $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal. They will at least pass the rules setting debate for that second piece of legislation, $1.9 trillion dollars, the economic and climate package. Still a long road to go there but a significant trust fall of sort between progressives and Democrats who have been warring for several months to let that infrastructure proposal go forward.

It was a day of very long negotiations, rollercoasters, different proposals, pivots, behind the scenes phone calls. The president, on a conference call, trying to urge some type of pathway forward to get a resolution, to get an outcome, and they got one.

I want to talk about that outcome. We've got two CNN contributors, Keith Boykin and Ashley Allison. You guys have worked in democratic politics. You understand how this place works. Mercifully, you probably have a sense of how this works as well. It can be frustrating, whether you love the institution like I do or not.

Ashley, I want to start with you in terms of -- you know the folks over here. You worked with a lot of these folks. You worked with a lot of folks on Capitol Hill. What is your sense of what this moment means for this administration given the last couple months?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Democrats, progressives delivering for the American people and that feels great. We lived a very tough four years under President Trump where people like me, people like Keith didn't feel like we had a place in this country. And, tonight, Joe Biden's administration, the administration that I helped get into office, feels like we can have a say. Is it enough? It is not the end. It is just a coma.

It feels great to know that Democrats and progressives came together to deliver a bipartisan deal and that there is more to come. We are not even in a full year of the Biden administration and we have delivered the American Rescue Plan and infrastructure deal and more to come. That is what the American people elected Joe Biden to do, elected a democratic Senate, a democratic House of Representatives to do, and we will do more. So, it feels good.

MATTINGLY: Ashley, that is a great point. If you -- $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in late March after he came in the office. Now, $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal, a pathway forward on a $1.9 trillion economic and climate package. These are huge, significant pieces of legislation --

ALLISON: Absolutely.

MATTINGLY: -- with a 50/50 Senate and Speaker Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes in the House. And yet, Keith, one of the big questions over the course of the last several months is, why isn't anything getting done? Why can't Democrats figure out a path forward? Does this put an end to those questions or is it just a pause?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I think it is just a pause to those questions, Phil. We still have a few weeks of negotiation to go forward in terms of finding out what is going to happen with the moderates and progressive and the party in figuring out a solution for the 'build back better' bill, which has not yet been passed, as you mentioned.

I think progressives are taking a leap of faith and not all progressives are on board with this. But those who are, are taking a leap of faith that the moderates who signed this agreement and said that they will vote for the 'build back better' bill, assuming that the CBO scores state it is paid for and those moderates own up to their word and live up to the expectations that they say that they will.

So, this is a point of trust. But the real key point, for me, is that Joe Biden stepped in and was directly involved and engaged in negotiations. This is exactly what a lot of us have been urging him to do for a long time, to be less like FDR, if you will, and more like LBJ in the sense of being willing to stand up and talk to people, to get in their face and tell them, we need to get this done for the good of the country and the cut of the party.


I hope he can do the same thing and take that same message to the conservatives, the moderates of the party because it can't just be one side that is making all of the concessions in the negotiations.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. I think, if you talk to progressives over the course from the American Rescue Plan on, they always feel like they have been the ones who have to make the concessions.

Ashley, Keith brings up a really interesting point and that was just the different posture of the president over the course of the last 12 or 13 hours. I spent a lot of time over the last 10 months trying to figure out how he operates behind the scenes, how he takes particularly when he's trying to talk to lawmakers.

What's your sense of kind of his strategy over the course of the last several months to get to this point in terms of kind of letting things play out before now really kind of moving to close?

ALLISON: I think the president is someone who really invests in relationships, slow and steady. It's like the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. And he wants to deliver for the American people in a very intentional way.

And I think that, you know -- look, I think in Washington, D.C., nothing much is pretty an expedited timeline when you consider how slow things have moved over the course of my lifetime and our lifetime. You know, Keith and yourself.

So, the president was intentional. He wanted to make sure -- you know, I ran coalitions on that campaign. When you run a coalition, you want everyone to have a seat at the table. When you give someone a seat at the table, that means they have a voice, they have an opportunity to say what they want. You don't take that for granted and you actually listen and you negotiate. And that's what this administration is doing. And I hope that the people around the country -- and I hope this administration actually takes the time to go and talk and tell the story of what it took to get this done. And I'm excited what's to come. As Keith said, like, this isn't it, you know? Progressives did take a leap of faith and they built trust.

But, man, has trust been absent in Washington, D.C. for at least four years and for some time. And so, it is encouraging for someone like me to see trust being built and that we were able to get something done tonight.


BOYKIN: Can I --

MATTINGLY: Yeah, go ahead, Keith.

BOYKIN: Can I just say, too, though, that the first three or four months of this Biden administration, they were doing a really good job of one thing, of overdelivering and underpromising. I think underpromising and overdelivering is the phrase. What has happened since that time is that the reverse has been taking place.

At first, it was setting all of these COVID deadlines and people said they weren't too easy to accomplish. But they accomplished them. They exceeded them. And they passed the American Rescue Plan.

And then we start moving to the summer. And after Afghanistan negotiations over infrastructure and the 'build back better' plan, it feels like we've moved away from where the Biden administration was trying to go, the sense of competence they were trying to exude, the sense of ability of being able to meet deadlines.

And Tuesday's election, I think, lit a candle or a match or something under people's feet to let them know that Democrats can't expect the public to continue to support them if they don't deliver something for the public. They got to deliver it for the voters. Today, they did that, and hopefully they can continue to do that with the 'build back better' plan.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, there is no question that was the sentiment. We'll see how it plays with negotiations going forward. Keith Boykin, Ashley Allison, thank you so much for your perspective.

I want to bring back in Charlie Dent. Congressman, really quick, we're running out of time. I could talk to you about Congress literally 24 hours a day for about a week. The moderate versus progressive divide, which isn't going away any time soon. You've been in the middle of one of those on the republican side of things. Does this make things better? How does it progress?

DENT: I think things get pretty hard now. Look, the easy part is done. The infrastructure bill was agreed to. I'm glad they passed it. But now, the infrastructure bill and the 'build back better' have been decoupled. We'll see now if the moderate House Democrats are as committed to this agreement as the progressives were through the last one because the moderates were treated horribly when they had an agreement.

And the progressives, they held this infrastructure bill hostage. They did not shoot that hostage, figuratively speaking, of course. They did not shoot it. But bottom line is this bill is going to -- if they pass this in November, I'm still skeptical, it will go to the Senate.

The Senate is going to control this process because whatever they pass out of the House will not become law. I'm told there's an $80,000 threshold now for the state and local (INAUDIBLE). Bernie Sanders said, no way to that. That's a gift to higher-income people. So, joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders are going to have their say. It's going to look very different.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, it's a long road ahead. Congressman, thank you so much for your time.

Real quick, I want to head over to Jessica Dean who has been hanging out with me the entire hour. Jess, what is your sense of things? I know there's still votes going on right now. Where do things stand?

DEAN: There are certainly votes still going on.


Remember, they're going to vote on the procedural rule vote on the Build Back Better Act. As you guys have gotten at all night, Phil, there's a long way to go, as you and Charlie did just lay out on the Build Back Better Act. It has got to go over to the Senate and it's going to take probably quite a different shape than what's leaving the House right now.

So, let's put that to the side because we know that's going to be taking up a lot of time as we look ahead. But just being in this moment right now, it is important, I think, to take a second and recognize that, you know -- when I was covering then-candidate Biden on the trail, he talked about infrastructure. He talked about this time and time again. And Phil, tonight, he gets that victory from House Democrats and some Republicans that jumped in, too.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, no question. Jess, as always, fantastic work, keeping us posted throughout. That's it here from us. I'm Phil Mattingly, live from the north lawn.

Coming up next, Jake Tapper's special report, "Trumping America, American Coup." Thanks so much for hanging out with us.