House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scrambling to strike a compromise with nine moderate Democrats threatening to tank the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, which they say they won’t support unless there’s an immediate vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
Pelosi had put the infrastructure vote on ice until the larger package could be passed at the same time.
In a letter to rank-and-file Democrats, Pelosi proposed allowing a procedural vote next week on the infrastructure deal, which would coincide with an already-planned vote to advance the larger budget framework, according to Bloomberg.
The nine moderates told Pelosi to pound sand.
“While we appreciate the forward procedural movement on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, our view remains consistent: We should vote first on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework without delay and then move to immediate consideration of the budget resolution,” they said in a Sunday night statement. “We simply cannot afford any delays.”
House Democrats scheduled a caucus call for Tuesday at noon as they seek to resolve differences over the path forward and the sequencing of Biden’s two-track approach.
Pelosi’s proposal earlier Sunday reflects conflicting pressures on the speaker within her caucus. Progressives are demanding that she hold up a vote on the infrastructure package until the Senate completes a final version of the bigger budget package to ensure it addresses their priorities on social programs and climate change. –Bloomberg
“Our goal is to pass the budget resolution the week of August 23rd so that we may pass Democrats’ Build Back Better agenda via reconciliation as soon as possible,” said Pelosi. “To that end, I have requested that the Rules Committee explore the possibility of a rule that advances both the budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure package.”
“This will put us on a path to advance the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill.”
According to the report, Pelosi was referring to a separate measure that typically defines floor-vote procedures and amendments to be debated – as opposed to the legislation itself.
Of note, Pelosi can’t lose more than three votes from her party, assuming Republicans stand firm in opposition.
The nine moderate Democrats led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) wrote in a Thursday letter to Pelosi that they would “not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.”
As Bloomberg notes, the other Democrats standing in Pelosi’s way are Representatives Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar and Vincente Gonzalez of Texas; Kurt Schrader of Oregon; Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia; Jared Golden of Maine; Jim Costa of California and Ed Case of Hawaii. Outside of this group, fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats have similarly told Pelosi that they want a quick vote on the infrastructure bill.