Democratic leaders racing toward Monday infrastructure vote

House Democratic leaders are racing ahead with their plans to vote Monday on a bipartisan infrastructure package, brushing aside threats of opposition from both Republicans and liberals in their own caucus in a bid to fulfill a big chunk of President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE’s domestic agenda.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters MORE (D-Calif.) had promised moderate Democrats that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, passed by the Senate last month, would hit the House floor on Sept. 27. And despite growing signs that the bill is headed for defeat, the Speaker said Wednesday that the timeline remains intact.

“We’re on schedule,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol, shortly after meeting with Biden at the White House to discuss the party’s strategy. 

ADVERTISEMENT

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPowerful Democrats push back on one-year extension of child tax credit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt MORE (D-Md.) is also on board, saying Democratic leaders "have an obligation" to bring the vote on Monday "because we got a unanimous vote for the rule.” He was referring to a vote last month, forced by the Democratic moderates, that set the parameters for the House infrastructure debate.

"That's what we were trying to do, and we got that done,” Hoyer said. “And I think we need to do what we said we'd do."

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill has widespread support in both parties, sailing through the Senate by a vote of 69 to 30. But it’s been caught up in the broader debate over Biden’s economic agenda, which also includes a second proposal — a massive $3.5 trillion social benefits package — that’s much more controversial.

A number of liberals, distrustful of the centrists’ commitment to the larger social spending bill, are demanding that the $3.5 trillion package be passed before they’ll support the more popular infrastructure plan. Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Democrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda Democrats jostle over health care priorities for scaled-back package MORE (D-Wash.), head of the influential Progressive Caucus, has said there are almost 50 members of the group prepared to oppose the public works bill to keep the pressure on the moderates to back the “family” package.

Republicans, meanwhile, oppose the $3.5 trillion package unanimously, and they’re lining up to oppose the bipartisan infrastructure proposal — not because they reject the policy, but to curb any momentum behind the larger bill. Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — US cracks down on tools for foreign hacking House passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure MORE (La.), the Republican whip, announced Wednesday that they’re encouraging GOP lawmakers to vote no.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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,” reads the notice from Scalise’s office. “Republicans should not aid in this destructive process.”

A handful of Republicans have said they’ll buck their leadership’s request and support the infrastructure bill, including Reps. Tom ReedTom ReedDemocratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress Laws should unite, not divide MORE (Pa.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress Cheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress MORE (Ill.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (Ill.). But the number of GOP yes votes is expected to fall far short of compensating for the disgruntled liberals who are vowing to vote no.

“I don't understand why some of our colleagues are so in love with the date Sept. 27. But if they are unmoving and attached to that date, yeah, we'll have to vote it down,” said Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William Huffman Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Biden leaves meeting saying 'it doesn't matter' when bill is passed Democratic lawmaker calls 'live-leaker' a schmuck and a coward MORE (D-Calif.). 

Huffman noted that defeating the infrastructure bill on Monday would hardly kill the overall effort, since Pelosi could simply bring it to the floor later in the year, after a Democratic deal is finalized on the social spending package.

The vowed opposition hasn’t altered leadership’s plans. Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnLobbying world Lawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — Progressives: Medicare benefit expansions 'not negotiable' MORE (D-S.C.), the Democrats’ No. 3 leader who runs his party’s vote-counting effort, said he, too, backs a vote next week.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I support it being held on Monday,” Clyburn told The Hill.

Party leaders have declined to say what they’ll do in the event the infrastructure bill fails. 

“We'll see what happens over the next five days," Hoyer said.