Florida Democrat wants infrastructure vote first amid party tensions

Florida Democrat wants infrastructure vote first amid party tensions
© Greg Nash

Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie Murphy21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill House GOP campaign arm releases ad hitting Democrats on IRS bank-reporting proposal Democratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse MORE (D-Fla.) announced on Monday that she will not vote to start debate on the Democrats’ budget resolution until the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed, heightening the feud between moderates and party leaders over how the two policy proposals should advance.

“I’m bewildered by my party’s misguided strategy to make passage of the popular, already-written, bipartisan infrastructure bill contingent upon passage of the contentious, yet-to-be-written, partisan reconciliation bill,” Murphy wrote in an op-ed published by the Orlando Sentinel.

“It’s bad policy and, yes, bad politics,” she added.

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Murphy’s op-ed was published at the same time the House Rules Committee was meeting to set up floor debate on the highly anticipated budget resolution, which will set the scene for Democrats to pass their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

The congresswoman’s comments come as moderates and leaders in the party are at odds over how the bipartisan infrastructure package and reconciliation bill should be passed.

President BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan MORE and his allies on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report On The Money — Will the billionaire tax survive Joe Manchin? Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs MORE (D-Calif.), have said that the two pieces of legislation must be approved together, in an effort to ramp up support for the second, larger package, which includes health, climate and safety net benefits.

A number of moderate Democrats, however, are threatening to tank the reconciliation package if the lower chamber does not pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill quickly.

Murphy's stances poses an issue for Pelosi, who can afford to lose only three votes given Democrats’ slim majority in the House.

Murphy, in Monday’s op-ed, argued that the two bills are “distinct” and blurring them together for passage “is confusing to the public.”

She also wrote that the process to pass the reconciliation bill “won’t be — and shouldn’t be — quick or easy,” insisting that the bipartisan package will be “stagnant” while Democrats work through language and priorities in the larger package.

“Democrats will need to make tough, thoughtful decisions about how much to spend given the state of the economy, how much to raise in revenue given the state of the national debt, and which priorities to include and exclude. As we work through these challenges, the infrastructure bill will sit there, stagnant,” Murphy wrote.

“It makes no sense,” she added.

In a tweet sharing the op-ed, Murphy wrote that the bipartisan infrastructure bill was being “unnecessarily delayed.”

The congresswoman also denounced leadership’s strategy for linking the two priorities, accusing leaders of not trusting that moderates will stay on board to pass the reconciliation bill once the bipartisan package is enacted.

“Finally, make no mistake: the current strategy is rooted in mistrust on the part of more 'progressive' Democrats toward 'moderate' Democrats like myself. They think we will abandon reconciliation once infrastructure becomes law, even though we’ve made clear we won’t,” Murphy wrote in the op-ed.

“In any event, if Democratic leaders believe they need to hold a good bipartisan bill hostage — and strong-arm their fellow Democrats — in order to achieve their desired policy goal, perhaps they should reconsider whether their overall approach is the right one,” she added.

Updated 9:20 p.m.