Colorado Dems Celebrate As Biden Gets Part One Done

(Clockwise from top left): Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter, and Jason Crow

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the final and narrow passage last night of a bipartisan roads and bridges bill by the U.S. House, a vote made possible by 13 Republicans who crossed party lines to offset “no” votes from a handful of progressive Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–handing President Joe Biden a major and much-needed victory that will have voter-visible effects in the near term, but also putting the onus squarely on Democratic Senate holdouts to ensure the much larger Build Back Better reconciliation package actually gets passed:

Colorado leaders hailed the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure package as more details as to what it will mean for the state comes to light. But not everyone was in a celebratory mood.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with bipartisan support late Friday.

Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement the bill is a “win” for the state.

“Let’s fix the roads and reduce traffic! This is a win for our country and a win for Colorado! I’m thrilled that Congress has passed with bipartisan support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our roads, create new jobs, improve our drinking water, and tackle climate change,” Polis said in a statement. “Paired with our state’s historic bipartisan infrastructure plan that I signed this summer, Colorado will see a transformation across all four corners of our state to make our roads safer and better for all Coloradans. Thank you, President Biden and Congress for your bipartisan work to bring real change across our country’s entire infrastructure system.”

Rep. Joe Neguse, who serves as a vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), is ebullient and tallying up the wins for Colorado this morning:

Although passage of the bipartisan roads and bridges bill is making some progressives nervous about the fate of the larger Build Back Better plan (more on that in a moment), this morning the big story is the red-on-red rage from conservative Republicans including Colorado’s own Rep. Lauren Boebert, vowing retribution against the “fake Republicans” who enabled passage of the bill in the House last night:

While Republicans busy themselves eating their own for a few news cycles and President Biden enjoys a major win after an undeniably difficult few months, it is necessary to acknowledge the real concerns raised by the six dissenting Democrats, who say they voted no because it had been previously assured that the bipartisan roads and bridges bill and the larger “human infrastructure” Build Back Better plan would pass as a package deal. As of now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is operating on a promise by moderate House Democrats to support the larger bill once the Congressional Budget Office completes its necessary scoring–the same thing America’s Most Important Senator® Sen. Joe Manchin claims to be waiting for.

In exchange for accolades today, the stakes are now higher to pass the larger bill Democrats still very much need to deliver ahead of the 2022 midterms. Colorado Democrats have not at any point been part of the problem here, in fact both Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have seen their own priorities threatened and even cut from the bill at Manchin’s whim. It’s a major test of discipline for the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress–and as Will Rogers famously observed in 1935, organization has never been the Democratic Party’s strong suit.

When there’s a deal, Colorado Democrats will be on the right side of it.

Beyond that, pray and/or bet according to your preference.

48 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. 2Jung2Die says:

    Can anyone suggest a great outline of what's in the bill? I do know how to read federal bills in full, but it's too damn nice outside to spend that much time on a lengthy read.

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    I see the six members of the Tribe made its voice heard by voting "No."  (Christine Todd Whitman was on NPR last Wednesday and referred to the Squad as the Tribe.)

    About the only nice thing to come out of the anticipated GOP retaking of the House next year will be seeing them relegated to irrelevance.

    • kwtree says:

      It’s cultural appropriation to refer to AOC, Omar,Pressley, Bush, etc as “ The Tribe”. Whitman should stick with the Squad. In more than one sense.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        What "cultural appropriation" is that? Tribe has many meanings. Example: Tribe is the world's fastest growing self serve marketplace connecting brands and agencies with social media influencers.

        If you're referring to Native American groupings, those are Sovereign Nations. In Canada, they are known as First Nations.


        • kwtree says:

          I don’t feel like trying to explain it to you. Just dismiss it as “wokeness”, and carry on feeling superior. 

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            A typical response from KW. When one has a weak case, make personal attacks on one's opponent to try and distract attention away from the weakness. I learned about that technique in college debate classes.

            Consider this: the late author Tony Hillerman received awards from the Dine Nation for how he portrayed them in his mystery/detective novels. In the "modern world," such novels likely would not be written due to "cultural appropriation."

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              I think the point CB is that Whitman is trying invoke otherness towards fellow Americans who have a different cultural background and perspective.  If a political hack like Whitman can make them seem less American then she can discount their views and doesn't have to justify her policy differences.  Invoke the boogieman and move on.

              • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                I didn’t hear what Whitman said, and so do not know the context. I’ve met her; have followed much of her career; and seriously doubt she’s is making a career out of “otherness.”

                People are too sensitive these days, on both extremes of the political spectrum, which tends to distract from actually getting needed work done.

            • kwtree says:

              CHB: So here’s an explanation of  cultural appropriation. I went into detail, although I know from past experience that you seldom actually read my posts. I know that any reply I make, you’re likely to charge me with suppressing your own speech, as part of the menacing “illiberal left”. 

              So first, the specific example you cited. The “Squad” calls themselves the Squad. The connotation is of a diverse group of  people fighting for a common cause. The first pop culture reference is the “Mod Squad”, a group of young, diverse, undercover crime fighters. When I was a young electrician, we used to call our crew the Mod Squad, because of our various genders and ethnicities.

              Christine Todd Whitman is a moderate Republican. Her designation of the Squad as a “tribe” a: is dismissive of their political strength, the “fighting for a cause” aspect, b: “tribe”does have the indigenous people connotation, with  the connotations that the members are affiliated because of ethnicity. They are all people of color, after all. So it was offensive. But J iD put it in context, i.e. that it was an unintentional slipup,and I’d accept his reasoning. 

              Back to cultural appropriation:

              Here are the questions I’ve seen asked in evaluating whether or not something is cultural appropriation, or instead promotes cultural appreciation and awareness:

              Is it respectful? Does it contribute to an understanding of shared humanity, or does it justify existing unequal power relationships? 

              Blackface minstrels, sports teams with “Indian” names, the Frito Bandito are examples of negative cultural appropriation.

              Does it reinforce stereotypes? ( noble savage, oversexed black male, dumb blonde woman, lazy Latine, etc).

              Is it accurate? ( was it co-authored, edited, or fact checked by a person from the culture referenced in the artistic work?)

              Is it exploitative? Is the author making money from incorporating aspects of the culture ( not his/her own culture). Does the author try to “give back” to the community from which he/she appropriated the material?

              By these criteria, I’ll analyze the novels of 80s author Tony Hillerman, since you brought him up. 

              Hillerman wrote many excellent murder mysteries, set in the culture and geography of several Native cultures. I’ve read and enjoyed most of his novels. 

              Hillerman was respectful of the distinct cultures he wrote of, not aggregating Pueblo, Hopi, and Navajo cultures. He realistically showed the territorial conflicts between the dominant Anglo culture and between the Native cultures. The characters, including the Native protagonists, are 3-dimensional, fully realized characters, not stereotypes.

              Accurate? Hillerman researched well,, as far as I can tell. He did not have a Native co-author or editor, although IIRC, he made some acknowledgements to various people with whom he had consulted. The pilot  for “Dark Winds” a series based on Hillerman’s work does have a Native Director, employs actors and crew from the community, and has cultural consultants to keep it accurate. As it should be. Shot on location with local people, Redford’s project appears to not be exploitative.

              Were Hillerman’s books Exploitative? I’d say the jury’s out on that one. Hillerman had great commercial success as an author. Did he give back to the community? 

              Hillerman reportedly donated millions to Navajo schools and cultural centers, according to his son and his biographer.

              The point is that people need to be thoughtful and intentional when working outside their own cultural experience. 

              • Gilpin Guy says:

                I suppose you can say that Trumpers are thoughtful and intentional when working outside their own cultural experience but the intention is to elicit fear and hate towards those who aren’t part of their personality cult.

      • PMan says:



        1aa social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language

        ba political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome


        United States Army — In military terminology, a squad is amongst the smallest of military organizations and is led by a non-commissioned officer.

        I'm of Italian heritage, so I must have some Roman tribal background. I also served in a U.S Army squad. Should I be more offended by the "cultural appropriation" of tribe or squad?


      • rice says:

        "Cultural appropriation" is not the right term. If the word "Tribe" was appropriated from any culture, it was the French. 

        "Tribe" denoting a vocal, culturally diverse group of minorities does dance dangerously close to metonymous racism. 

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Gov. Todd Whitman is a 75-year old Republican, out of any official position since 2003, being a guest of a radio show/podcast, speaking extemporaneously, and covering a broad set of topics on "the election."  She used an incorrect term and immediately corrected to the preferred term of the Representatives, "the Squad."  No big deal.

        We all have slips of the brain and make errors in our speaking.  I've watched a number of people recently call people in front of them by the wrong name.  I did some cognitive testing for a long-term study recently and confused Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela. And I listened to young people in speech competition this weekend and heard several jumbles: my favorite this weekend was hearing of a scientific innovation being an "intervention" instead of an invention.

        RepealAndReplace apparently thinks there was more to it.   That isn't on Todd Whitman.


    • ParkHill says:

      Hmm. It is such a mystery why they voted NO. I mean, what possible reasons would they do that? I'm sure you know why.

      • kwtree says:

        Do you really not know, or just want to argue about it?

        If it’s any comfort to you, they would have voted with majority if their votes had been needed to pass it. They weren’t, so the Squad had the luxury of standing on principle.


      • Diogenesdemar says:

        It’s one of those: I-was-for-it-before-I-was-against-it, . . .


        . . . pissing-yourself-in-a-dark-suit, things.

        Take your choice.


        (It’s also why the Democratic Party can never send a message, . . .

        . . . because every faction in the Democratic Party all think their faction’s message is more important .)

        • The realist says:

          You'd think the Party could come up with something simple enough and important enough to appeal to nearly everyone under the big tent. Perhaps we should brainstorm progressive messages right here, then sell our work to the Party. None of this facty, boring stuff – appeal to emotion, motivate, keep it simple, and repeat it ad nauseum!

    • MattC says:

      Well, of course, condescension and mockery are exactly what the Democratic party has always used to grow its ranks and build power.

      However, since they appear to have been legally elected and sworn in, and generally caucus with Pelosi, maybe, and I know I am the crazy former R, but maybe we should find common ground and include them.

      • kwtree says:

        We’ll need their stubbornness to get any of the remaining provisions in the Build Back Better bill: universal pre-k, supports for childcare, subsidies for renewables and to mitigate climate change, reasonable immigration policy, affordable housing…all that good stuff we want and need. 

        • MattC says:

          Sounds about right.

          And seriously what better way to draw in the outliers who did not vote the right way? Mockery and condescension are the tried and true way. It motivate voters, inspires donors, and generally avoids the christmas tree type legislating that mostly replaced the smoke filled back room arm twisting.



          • JohnInDenver says:

            Pelosi is VERY good about counting votes.  I’m betting she was well aware that the bill would get Republican votes — and pass — without the 6 Democrats.  So the 6 could vote and send their message. Just like those at the OTHER end of the Conference who put out a statement that they would back having a vote on the BBB / soft infrastructure bill before Thanksgiving, and particularly those who said “if the bill gets a CBO score.that matches what is being advertised, we’ll vote for it.”

            Personally, I’m a fan of Representatives doing what they said they would.  After announcing they would not vote for the hard infrastructure bill without a vote on the BBB “soft” infrastructure bill, following through seems like a no-brainer. 

            I’d also like to recognize the 13 Republicans who voted for the bill — 8 of them were from the “Problem Solvers” caucus that negotiated the bill and came to a compromise to be offered.  And then, they voted for the deal they negotiated.

  3. skeptical citizen says:

    Donald Trump campaigned on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” he said in his 2016 election night victory speech. “And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”

    Ha-ha-ha. So what did it take to get an infrastructure plan? President Joe Biden and Democratic leadership in Congress.

  4. MichaelBowman says:

    A huge win for America’s Indigenous communities. $3.5 billion is allocated for chronically underfunded tribes.

  5. davebarnes says:

    Qbert will be at any ribbon cutting ceremony in her district taking credit.

    • kwtree says:

      Of course…

      As will Bucko and Lamebrain in theirs.

      • ParkHill says:

        Their districts could just send the money back to Washington.

        Or, when there is a natural disaster, all districts with representatives who voted against infrastructure simply won't receive government assistance; you know, socialism and all that.

        Better yet, let's do backsies on Socialist Security payments to Republican districts.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Why on earth would they do that?

          I voted for Hillary in ;16 and Biden in '20. But I've taken the 20% pass through deduction on my taxes the last few years brought to us courtesy of Ron Johnson (WI-Asshole) and Donald Trump.

          Why would I turn it away simply because it was brought to us by a bunch of douche bags…

    • JohnInDenver says:

      I'm not certain Boebert will show up to take credit — especially not if the ribbon cutting celebrates electric school bus fleets, or new electric grids to the solar or wind power farms, or the program to cap methane links from oil and gas wells.

      She and her allies may be busy excoriating the 13 GOP YES votes:  Young (AK), Kinzinger (IL-retiring); Bacon (NE), Van Drew (NJ), Smith (NJ), Upton (MI), Garbarino (NY), Katko (NY), Malliotakis (NY), Reed (NY), Gonzalez (OH-leaving), Fitzpatrick (PA), and McKinley (WV). 

      Curiously, some of those said "I'm voting for this to sink the other infrastructure  bill."

  6. Sparky says:

    So in other words, after wasting six months and driving Biden’s and Democrats’ approval ratings into the ditch, Manchin and Sinema get rewarded for their destructive behavior and get to immediately turn to tanking what little remains of the reconciliation bill that would actually help people. Passing infrastructure without it gave up every ounce of leverage Democrats had.


    • Meiner49er says:

      Agreed, Sparky. This IS a win for the American people, but not for Dems.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      What’s “embarrassing” about a $1 trillion plus infrastructure bill? That amount isn’t exactly “chicken feed” or table scraps.

      Recall that the Dems lost several House seats a year ago; particularly in south Florida; that they should have kept, due to the Dems being labeled as “socialists.” That label doesn’t play well in the Cuban and Venezuelan communities in Florida and elsewhere. Manchin and Sinema will agree to something in the reconciliation bill and keeping the amount low might help the Dems keep the Senate in a year.

      In case it was missed, Larry Sabato, a highly regarded political pundit at the University of Virginia (Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball), has already downgraded the Senate races in AZ (D-Kelly), Nevada (D-Cortez-Masto), and Pennsylvania (open) to toss-ups.

      • Sparky says:

        What's embarrassing is giving up any proposal that would actually improve people's lives and simply getting a crappy watered-down highway bill.

        In case you haven't noticed, people don't actually care about government spending: That's always just a smoke screen – if debt mattered, the Bush and Trump tax cuts would have been the end of the Republican Party. What people care about is whether their lives become more livable – whether they have jobs, decent pay, sustainable insurance, health care, support for their children. Doing this quarter-measure of infrastructure while sacrificing reconciliation will be a millstone around Democrats' necks for years to come. And it should be.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          People don't care about government spending if they personally benefit and somebody else pays for it.

        • JohnInDenver says:

          There are some who react to both sides of the issue — the "balanced budget" folks complain about deficit spending, and I've met some who actually report that they vote for the candidate who will be closer to that.  One neighbor specifically used the "we are saddling my grandchild with too much debt" line when talking to me.  He's "comfortable" — and said he was sending the pandemic stimulus money back to the Treasury. 

          I think those people are outnumbered by the "how am I doing" and "how are people I know doing" crew.  They focus on taxes in and benefits out, and see if the party in charge is doing more good.  Some people look at their personal situation — those include people who will vote Democratic candidates in who backed the child tax credits, because that meant their kid could join a travel soccer team or that they could finally start that college fund they'd talked about.  

          Life is complicated by those who don't fall into either camp — single issue voters, "horse race" voters betting they can be on the "right" side of a contest, and of course, the absolute partisan R or D folks who have always voted that way no matter what.

  7. ParkHill says:

    What's in the bill:

    —$40b bridges
    —$11b safety
    —$39b transit
    —$66b Amtrak/rail
    —$7.5b e-vehicle chargers
    —$5b clean buses
    —$17b ports
    —$25b airports
    —$50b water resilience
    —$55b drinking water
    —$65b broadband
    —$21b enviro remediation
    —$73b power/clean energy

    Rural Broadband…. Every rural district Republican voted against it. 

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Fossil fuels made our families rich. Now we want this industry to end

      To start, Congress must help usher in a new energy age – a clean energy age with the same level of support that fossil fuels companies have received for over a century. A rapid managed transition off fossil fuels – including an end to new refineries, infrastructure, and pipelines like Line 3 that lock in more dangerous pollution and warming emissions – can prevent the worst of the climate crisis while securing a future where our communities and the planet thrive. Including safeguards to ensure good jobs for workers in transition and responsible land management will help revive our economy while tackling environmental injustice, and systemic racism.

  8. Gilpin Guy says:

    I don't know if the bill addresses forest management but forests are our oxygen and carbon sink infrastructure and really need some TLC.  Imagine living in a world where trees don't exist or not enough to make a difference.

  9. ohwilleke says:

    Half a loaf is better than none, but I can't say that I'm all that excited about it.

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