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After months of partisan horn locking, Congress approved on Friday legislation on a two-year, $120 billion transportation bill, appended with a measure freezing interest rates on federal student loans.

In rare bipartisan fashion, the House passed the measure by a 372-52 vote, and the Senate by 74-19. The last step is Obama’s signature on the legislation.

The contentious Keystone XL Pipeline, steadfastly opposed by Democrats, was ultimately scratched from the Highway Bill. The pipeline, which has received widespread criticism from concerned environmentalist groups, would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands to Port Arthur, Texas.The 27–month bill extends funding for highway projects and rail and transit programs.

“It is good to be at this point in the completion of a long-overdue transportation reform bill,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said of Friday’s vote.

“It’s not lost on any of us that this is an election year,” he continued. “But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election.”

Despite the intense disagreements between fiscal conservatives and staunch environmentalists, both groups understood the necessity of job-stimulating legislation. “When all is said and done, this bill is what it is,” said Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-VA) one of the senior negotiators. “It means jobs.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) offered a concurrent sentiment. “This legislation proves that when Republicans decide to work with Democrats, we can do a lot to move our economy forward,” said in a statement.

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President Joe Biden

Photo by The White House

Two tiresome realities about being president of the United States: first, everybody blames you for things over which you have little or no control: such as the worldwide price of oil, and international shipping schedules. Should there be too few electronic gee-gaws on store shelves to pacify American teenagers this Christmas, it will be Joe Biden’s fault.

Second, everybody gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Everywhere you look, Democrats and Democratically-inclined pundits are tempted to panic. “The cold reality for Biden,” writes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait “is that his presidency is on the brink of failure.” A return to Trumpism, and essentially the end of American democracy, strikes Chait as altogether likely.

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