House passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers
Pelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill top line higher than Senate's
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday said she promised House Democrats that they would not vote on a spending package that has a price tag higher than $3.5 trillion should that be the top-line number that is passed by the Senate.
"The President and Senate Democrats sent us a budget resolution with a cap of $3.5 trillion. I have promised Members that we would not have House Members vote for a bill with a higher topline than would be passed by the Senate. Hopefully, that will be at the $3.5 trillion number," Pelosi wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter.
She noted, however, that the bill is being reviewed by panels in the House and Senate for potential Byrd rule violations that could change the top-line number.
"Our legislation is being reviewed by the House and Senate Budget Committees for possible Byrd violation challenges in order to narrow our exposure in a Byrd bath. The House and Senate are already in agreement on most of the bills," Pelosi wrote. "We must be prepared for adjustments according to the Byrd rule and an agreed to number."
Pelosi's statement places a marker in the sand for the reconciliation package's price tag as Democrats continue to engage in an internal battle over the top-line number.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Budget Committee Democrats, led by Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), announced in July that they had reached a deal for a $3.5 trillion price tag for the party's infrastructure package - which includes investments in education and climate change, among other Democratic legislative priorities.
Some moderates in the party, however, have since voiced opposition to the package's top-line number, arguing that it is too high.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been among the most outspoken in his criticism of the package's price tag. Earlier this month Axios reported, citing sources familiar with the discussions, that Manchin would be open to supporting at most $1.5 trillion of the proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill.
That came after Manchin earlier this month publicly said Democrats should hit "pause" on the spending bill.
Democrats are looking to pass the multitrillion-dollar package through reconciliation, which would allow the party to buck a potential Republican filibuster by only requiring a simple majority vote for passage.
That strategy, however, will require that all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate remain banded together, including on the price tag.
Congress returned to Washington on Monday after a long August recess, when deliberations on the reconciliation package resumed.
The House is also readying a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate passed last month.
Democrats were dealt a blow on Sunday when Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against their plan to provide 8 million green cards to immigrants as part of the reconciliation package.