WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Congress approved a major renewal of federal highway and other transportation programs, the votes were 359-65 in the House and 83-16 in the Senate. It was backed by nearly every Democrat and robust majorities of Republicans.
This year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill easily cleared the Senate 69-13 with GOP support, but crawled through the House last week by 228-206 with just 13 Republican votes. Those defectors were savaged afterward by former President Donald Trump, hard-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called them “traitors” while tweeting their names and office telephone numbers, and one of the 13 says he received a death threat.
The votes, six years apart, and the harsh blowback against Republican mavericks illustrate a GOP in which conservative voices have grown louder and more militant, fanned by Trump’s bellicose four years in office. Growing numbers of progressives have made Democrats more liberal too, with both shifts fueling a sharpening of partisanship in Washington.