Jayapal says Sept. 27 vote on infrastructure is ‘arbitrary deadline’
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Wednesday called the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package scheduled for Sept. 27 an “arbitrary deadline,” deepening the stalemate between moderates and progressives as a key part of President Biden’s legislative agenda hangs in the balance.
“Monday is an arbitrary deadline, there is no reason to bring it up, it’s just an attempt to pass one bill and leave behind the bill that has the majority of the president’s agenda,” Jayapal told host Alisyn Camerota during an interview on “CNN Newsroom.”
Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is pushing to prioritize the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that Democrats are trying to pass, which includes key components of Biden’s agenda.
House progressives are threatening to tank the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill if it is not approved alongside the much larger Democratic-only package.
Some moderate Democrats, however, are pushing for the House to pass the bipartisan bill first, then work on approving the reconciliation measure. But progressives are objecting to that course of action out of fear that moderates will break their commitment to pass the larger bill, which includes investments in areas like education and climate change.
Jayapal on Wednesday called for nixing the Sept. 27 vote date — previously set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — arguing that Democrats need more time to hash out a reconciliation package that can get the backing of all 50 democratic senators, which is needed to pass the measure through reconciliation.
“We are working on coming up with a pre-conference reconciliation bill, Build Back Better Bill, that everybody can agree to, but we do need a little bit more time,” Jayapal told Camerota.
“Let’s get rid of the arbitrary deadline of Monday and let’s actually work on getting to a deal,” she added.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, sounded a similar note on Wednesday, arguing that “there is no deadline” to pass the reconciliation package. He said Pelosi should “negotiate her way out of this arbitrary Sept. 27 vote.”
Moderates, however, are remaining steadfast in their commitment to hold a vote on the bipartisan bill on Monday.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, pressed for the Sept. 27 vote earlier on Wednesday.
“On Monday, there’s absolutely no reason, we’re facing what we are on the climate, or we’re facing what we are on our crumbling roads and bridges, New Jersey’s got the third worst roads in the country, with transit and everything else, there’s no reason to not vote on that,” Gottheimer said.
When asked if he is confident that the House will hold a vote on the measure on Monday, Gottheimer responded “I am.”
“It’s essential that we get this across the finish line and we all voted, every Democrat in the House voted to bring this bill to the floor on Sept. 27, on Monday, so we’ll start doing that, we’ll debate it,” he added.