Progressives' optimism for large reforms dwindles
Pelosi says House working to pass infrastructure bills by Oct. 1
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Saturday that the lower chamber is "hard at work" to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger, Democrat-backed spending package by Oct. 1.
In a "Dear Colleague" letter distributed Saturday night, the Speaker stated that the "Build Back Better" plan laid out by President Biden enjoys "a broad and bipartisan level of public support throughout the country."
Pelosi stated that the $3.5 trillion price tag for the larger infrastructure package, a legislative priority for the Biden administration, will remain the topline number for the bill.
The bill would include child care, home health care, and paid family and medical leave.
"The President has been clear: this is the number that will honor his vision to Build Back Better," she said.
"This is the number that has been agreed to in the Senate and is now before us in the House. Accordingly, we will write a reconciliation bill with the Senate that is consistent with that topline," she added.
Earlier this month, the Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure with support from both sides of the aisle. This piece of legislation allocated money for more traditional infrastructure such as updates to electrical grids, water systems, public transit and airports.
Following the bill's passage in the upper chamber, the Senate also passed the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, a move that paves that way for Democrats to pass their larger spending package without GOP support, bypassing the legislative filibuster. The resolution now awaits a decision in the House.
"Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share," Pelosi said.
"The House is hard at work to enact both the Build Back Better Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill before October 1st, when the BIF would go into effect," she added.
The Speaker had a phone call with Biden on Saturday afternoon, during which they discussed the president's "support for Speaker Pelosi's work to advance the rule that would provide for the House's consideration of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Agenda," according to a readout of the call from the White House.
Biden has defended the Build Back Better plan as a way to lower prescription drug costs, reduce the price of housing and education, boost care for veterans, combat climate change, and help Americans cover the costs of child and senior care.
The White House said Saturday that Biden and Pelosi reaffirmed the desire for a $3.5 trillion proposal through a tax increase on corporations and wealthy individuals, a move that has united the GOP in opposition to the spending plan.
Pelosi in her letter released Saturday night said that the House will write a bill "that is paid for, including by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, some of whom currently pay little to no federal income taxes."
Moderate House Democrats, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), have threatened to block the $3.5 trillion budget resolution.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other other prominent business lobbying groups are rallying behind these lawmakers, who have called on Pelosi to immediately convene a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill without the larger reconciliation package.
Updated 11:07 p.m.