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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) makes his way to the Senate chamber during the Senate vote-a-rama. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) credited President Biden on Tuesday for his role in getting the Senate to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: It's a rare flash of praise from the Republican leader, who has previously said that 100% of his focus is on "stopping" the Biden administration's agenda.

  • McConnell applauded Biden's role in getting Democrats to support the bill — which was negotiated mostly by a bipartisan group of centrists — and push it across the finish line.
  • "There’s nothing to back you up like the promise of a presidential signatory, if you’re in the same party as the president," McConnell told the Wall Street Journal. "And so I think the president deserves a lot of credit for getting the Democrats open to reaching a bipartisan agreement on this bill."

Between the lines: By voting for the infrastructure package, McConnell and Republicans are seeking to show that the Senate is not too polarized to function — which could stave off Democratic attempts to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster and pass more of their agenda without Republican votes.

The big picture: McConnell also rejected criticism from former President Trump and other Republicans who said that he was giving the Democrats a victory before the 2022 midterm elections, per the WSJ.

  • "Infrastructure is popular with both Republicans and Democrats," McConnell said.
  • “The American people, divided, sent us a 50-50 Senate and a narrowly divided House. I don’t think the message from that was, ‘Do absolutely nothing.’ And if you’re going to find an area of potential agreement, I can’t think of a better one than infrastructure, which is desperately needed."
  • The Senate voted 69-30 on Tuesday to pass the package, with 19 Senate Republicans voted in favor, including McConnell.
  • President Biden on Tuesday thanked McConnell for supporting the bill. "I know compromise is hard for both sides, but it’s important — it’s important, it’s necessary — for a democracy to be able to function," Biden said.

What to watch: Despite the rare reprieve from partisanship, McConnell maintained that Republicans will likely not help Democrats pass federal voting legislation or other top Democratic priorities.

  • But, that doesn't mean McConnell will block everything. "When they want to try to do something in the middle, we can talk," he said.

Go deeper ... "Long overdue": Biden praises Senate passage of bipartisan infrastructure package

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 14, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado redistricting gives Democrats edge in state Legislature

Expand chart
Data: Colorado Sun; Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

The General Assembly appears poised to remain in Democratic hands for years to come.

Driving the news: The Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission created new state House and Senate districts this week that give the Democrats the easiest path to power, the Colorado Sun reports.

Senate joins Big Tech antitrust fray

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) unveiled a bill Thursday banning companies like Amazon and Google from favoring their own services.

Why it matters: The Senate legislation, which is similar to a bipartisan House bill, shows Republicans and Democrats in both chambers are eager to pass new regulations on the country's biggest technology companies.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

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