PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a robust vote after weeks of fits and starts, the Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan on Tuesday, a rare coalition of Democrats and Republicans joining to overcome skeptics and deliver a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's agenda.
The 69-30 tally provides momentum for this first phase of Biden's "Build Back Better" priorities, now headed to the House. A sizable number of lawmakers showed they were willing to set aside partisan pressures, eager to send billions to their states for rebuilding roads, broadband internet, water pipes and the public works systems that underpin much of American life.
"The same kind of historic investments that have so often made possible for America to rebuild the future and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world," said President Joe Biden after Tuesday's advancement.
Pennsylvania US Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, says this kind of investment is sorely needed.
"For a city like Philadelphia, the transit money alone would be reason enough to support a bill like this," said Casey. "Two-point eight billion dollars for public transit in Pennsylvania."
The outline for Biden's bigger $3.5 trillion package is next up for the Senate - a more liberal undertaking of child care, elder care and other programs that is much more partisan and expected to draw only Democratic support. That debate is expected to extend into the fall.
Tuesday's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act started with a group of 10 senators who seized on Biden's campaign promise to draft a scaled-down version of his initial $2.3 trillion proposal, one that could more broadly appeal to both parties in the narrowly divided Congress, especially the 50-50 Senate.
It swelled to a 2,700-page bill backed by the president and also business, labor and farm interests. It drew an expansive alliance of senators and a bipartisan group in the House.
In all, 19 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for Senate passage. Vice President Kamala Harris, as presiding officer, announced the final tally.
Bucks County Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick says that while he fully supports the bill passed Tuesday, he believes the added $3.5 trillion proposal is a bridge too far.
"What I suspect, when you have a 50-50 Senate, and now a three-vote margin in the House, my hope and expectation is the bipartisan bill passes, and that if 'Reconciliation 2' is a one-party solution it is not likely to succeed," said Fitzpatrick.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said she will not take up any bill until she has both of those proposals in hand, which means, it will likely be months before either plan arrives on Biden's desk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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