House GOP to whip against bipartisan infrastructure bill
House Republican leaders said Wednesday that they are formally urging their rank-and-file to oppose the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of a scheduled vote early next week.
While 19 out of 50 GOP senators voted for the roughly $1 trillion bill, which makes investments in physical infrastructure like roads and bridges, far fewer of their House counterparts — who are more aligned with former President Trump — had indicated they would support it.
A notice from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) office says Republican leaders will urge members to vote against the bipartisan bill because Democrats are linking it with their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package to expand social safety net programs and invest in climate change mitigation efforts.
House GOP leaders are also expected to whip against the $3.5 trillion package whenever it is scheduled for a vote.
“There is no question that Republicans vehemently oppose the reckless policies included in the reconciliation bill and Speaker Pelosi’s legislative strategy solidifies that a vote for the infrastructure bill paves the way for passage of reconciliation – Republicans should not aid in this destructive process,” the notice reads.
Just two House Republicans have indicated publicly that they support the bipartisan bill, according to The Hill’s whip list: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).
The decision by House GOP leaders to formally whip against the bipartisan bill means that centrists who secured a commitment from Democratic leadership to vote on the bipartisan bill by Sept. 27 will likely have few Republicans to help offset any defections from progressives, who have threatened to vote down the bipartisan bill if the $3.5 trillion social spending package isn’t ready yet.
House Democrats can only afford three defections and still pass legislation on their own without any help from Republicans.
It’s unlikely that the $3.5 trillion package will be ready by the beginning of next week, since Democrats are still working to make sure that it can comply with budget reconciliation rules that will allow them to circumvent a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
Democratic leaders still are pledging to follow through with the Sept. 27 vote they promised to a group of moderates, although House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) indicated on Tuesday that the vote could technically slip to the following day.
“It may be the 27th, it may be the morning of the 28th — depending upon how long the debate goes. But we’re going to vote on that,” Hoyer said. “And we are absolutely committed to moving forward on the second ‘family’ plan.”
The decision by House GOP leaders to whip against the bipartisan bill puts them at odds with their Senate counterparts and further demonstrates how they are more closely allied with Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted for the bipartisan bill last month, which drew Trump’s ire upon its passage.
“Nobody will ever understand why Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed. He has given up all of his leverage for the big whopper of a bill that will follow. … He is working so hard to give Biden a victory, now they’ll go for the big one, including the biggest tax increases in the history of our Country,” Trump said in a statement at the time.