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Rep. Don Bacon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Some of the swing-district House Republicans who crossed party lines to help Democrats pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill told Axios they believe they can survive the political fallout from their own party — and that their vote strengthens their own standing with general election voters a year from now.

The big picture: The 13 GOP votes gave Speaker Nancy Pelosi the numbers to pass the bill despite no-votes from six liberal Democrats who held out trying to secure a bigger version of the companion Build Back Better social spending package.

  • They included a combination of lawmakers who are retiring and who will seek re-election. Some did — but most didn't — vote to impeach former President Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection.

What they're saying: "I weakened their hand. They have n0 leverage now," said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), who had shaped a GOP-friendly spin on her vote by the time she exited the chamber: "I voted against AOC and the squad tonight."

  • Malliotakis told Axios that progressives will no longer be able to hold the bill hostage and predicted Build Back Better will be "drastically weakened" in the Senate or "die altogether" as a result of the infrastructure bill passing.

A damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't choice is what Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios he faced, so he said he did what felt right. "You vote one way, maybe it hurts in the primary. You vote the other way... in my district, it'd hurt me in the general."

  • With Republican leadership whipping against the bill as "inextricably linked" with a larger social spending package opposed by all Republicans, Bacon says he faced "pressure" on the House floor from GOP colleagues to sink the bill.
  • While "certain elements of our party did not like it," he said, the bill is popular among his constituents, with broad support from farmers, unions and businesses — with internal polls showing two-thirds support or higher in his district.
  • "I helped draft this bill," Bacon said. "To do a flip wouldn't have been appropriate. Wouldn't have been right." He acknowledged he could face a primary challenger who tries to tie him to the social spending package, but he predicted, "I'll still win."

The other side: Hardliner and provocateur Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), has pledged to support intra-party challenges against Republicans who voted for the bill.

  • She tweeted out the office numbers of the 13 Republicans and claimed they "handed over their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America via so-called infrastructure."
  • Bacon shrugged: "She wouldn't do too well in Omaha."

Details... The 13 House Republicans who voted for the bill include: Bacon; Malliotakis; Don Young of Alaska; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith of New Jersey; Andrew Garbarino, John Katko and Tom Reed of New York; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; and David McKinley of West Virginia.

  • The six House Democrats who voted against the bill include: Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Cori Bush of Missouri; Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York;

Go deeper

Rashida Tlaib warns of “corporate Dems” killing Biden bill

Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks with Axios' Jonathan Swan. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) told "Axios on HBO" she's "fearful" of what will happen to President Biden's big social spending bill in the Senate because "corporate Democrats" — including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — are serving special interests.

Driving the news: "I know that they've been influenced and guided by folks that don't have the best interests of the American people in mind," the Squad member said.

Rep. Jeffries demands filibuster reform to pass voting rights bill

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told “Axios on HBO" that the “integrity of our democracy” is at stake without federal voting rights legislation, and the Senate must seriously consider filibuster reform if it can’t get 60 votes to pass it next year.

What they’re saying: “It's an open question as to whether we can get to 60 votes in the Senate on voting. And if we can't, then the Senate is going to have to make some decisions as it relates to filibuster reform,”Jeffries said.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.