WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to advance a $3.5 trillion social infrastructure spending plan that is considered a hallmark of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency.

For weeks the budget bill’s fate was mired in controversy as a handful of moderate Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii, threatened to withhold their support until the House voted on a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal.

The stalemate ended after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill by Sept. 27. The budget deal passed entirely along party lines 220-212.

Hawaii Congressman Ed Case used Democrats’ slim majority in the House to his advantage. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2018

Tuesday’s vote will allow lawmakers to start writing the $3.5 trillion dollar budget bill, which Democrats hope to pass using reconciliation, a process that allows them to skirt Senate rules that require 60 votes to pass legislation.

Democrats currently own a 51-vote majority in the Senate but only with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tiebreaker.

Case opposed Pelosi’s plan of waiting to vote on the infrastructure bill until the budget bill was completed because he did not want to risk Republican backlash. Because Democrats hold such a slim majority in the House, he and his fellow moderates were able to hold the bill hostage until they got what they wanted.

“I’ve got a bird in the hand and I’m not going to let it get away,” he told Civil Beat in an interview earlier this month.

Case has expressed concerns about Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget plan, which focuses on building more affordable housing, addressing climate change and extending the child tax credit.

The Hawaii congressman has said the price tag is too high. He also has concerns about certain aspects of the legislation, including a desire to provide free community college to anyone, including the wealthy.

Case, a former tourism executive, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is made up of fiscally conservative Democrats.

His position has earned him the support of conservative leaning organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the political centrist organization, No Labels, which ran ads in support of the congressman’s tactics.

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