Pelosi Changes Course, Pushes For Vote On Bipartisan Bill

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reportedly pushing Democrats to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, even as she had originally tried to get both the spending package and bipartisan legislation through the House on Friday. 

As reported by NBC News:

After planning votes Friday on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and safety net bills, Democratic leaders changed course at the last minute, announcing that they’ll vote on the surface transportation legislation while leaving the larger spending bill to another day. 

Within minutes, that plan was thrown into doubt.

Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues saying the House would vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and vote to start debate on President Joe Biden’s social spending package. 

“The agenda that we are advancing is transformative and historic, hence challenging,” she said.

Issues arose from disagreements between progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party. Moderate Democratic members wanted to see the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the social spending package, and the progressive wing of the party pushed back against passing the bipartisan bill without attaching it to the massive plan that has been deemed the “human infrastructure” bill. 

“As we’ve consistently said, there are dozens of our members who want to vote both bills … out of the House together,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the progressive caucus chair. “However, if our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together.”

Fox News reported, “About 20 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are prepared to vote no on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a progressive source told Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich.”

As reported by The Guardian, “Jayapal has reportedly told Joe Biden she won’t support the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill tonight and that the bill and the reconciliation package should pass together.”

The outlet referred to a tweet by CNN correspondent Manu Raju describing that encounter. 

On Friday afternoon, The Hill reported, “Democratic leaders in the House say they are moving forward with a vote Friday on the bipartisan infrastructure measure, despite opposition from progressives…”

CNN reported, “Asked if she has 218 votes to pass the infrastructure bill without the social spending bill, Pelosi only said ‘we’ll see.’”

Pelosi added, “I have the speakers’ secret whip count.” 

“I do believe there are a large number of members of the progressive caucus who will vote for the bill,” she said.

Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) also appeared uninterested in voting for the bipartisan bill without the larger spending legislation.

Bush tweeted, “Conservative Democrats are trying to tell my community that we should just shut up and accept a half deal. St. Louis sent me to Congress to do the most for all of us. We won’t accept anything less than the President’s full agenda. The people must win.”

The Guardian also noted, “The California Congressman John Garamendi said Pelosi would keep the House in session all night if necessary.”

The Guardian included:

Progressives had been holding up the bipartisan infrastructure bill in an attempt to pressure moderate Democrats in the Senate, such as Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), to agree to the social spending bill.

Manchin has been one of the strongest opponents of the massive spending package due to its hefty price tag that was originally around $3.5 trillion. He has pushed back against passing such an expensive bill in the context of the nation’s inflation and uncertainty about the future.

The White House has repeatedly made the claim that the spending bill would cost nothing to the American people, a line of thinking that has been met with mockery.

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