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Rep. Cori Bush defends her 'no' vote on infrastructure, pushes for more spending on social and climate issues

Rep. Bush was one of six Democrats who broke with their party to vote against one of two signature priorities of the Biden administration for "leverage."

ST. LOUIS — Spend just about any time with the freshman Congresswoman from Missouri's first congressional district and you'll likely hear her say something like this: "St. Louis has to come first, that it's always how I start my conversations."  

Wednesday night, during a telephone town hall with constituents, much of the conversation was about her recent 'no' vote on a bill that will bring investments in roads and bridges, broadband, and jobs to St. Louis. 

"Congresswoman, you even voted 'no' on the infrastructure bill which is great. It's going to help St. Louis," said a woman identified only as Carolyn on the call. 

Representative Bush was one of six Democrats to break with their party as it passed a trillion-dollar priority of President Biden's. 

But, Bush said that's just half of the story because it's just half of what Democrats had originally agreed on.

She's pushing for another $1.75 trillion plan known as "Build Back Better" that, she said, would invest in "human infrastructure." It includes universal pre-K, elder care and an extension of the enhanced child tax credit among other social programs.

"People are finally getting stable," Bush said of the extra $300 a month for most parents. "That has helped so many people that have called into our office. I cannot say I'm going to allow them to just take that from you."  

"If I would've said, 'Yes, I will go along and only support this bipartisan infrastructure package,' we would have lost the leverage to keep the other bill on the table," said Bush who said she spoke to President Biden and Vice President Harris to explain her position before voting no on the infrastructure package.     

"When I talk to the president, I let him know that as the progressive caucus we had already made concessions," Bush said. "They know they know that I will do whatever it takes, even if it means making the powers that be very angry."

There is no hard deadline on the Build Back Better bill, but some Democrats want a vote by Thanksgiving.

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