Pelosi: Bipartisan infrastructure vote will happen Monday
House Democrats will honor their commitment to moderates and vote early next week on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday.
“It will come up on Monday,” the Speaker told reporters just outside the Capitol.
Whether the bill will pass, however, remains an open question. And liberals are already predicting it won’t.
“It cannot pass,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Friday. “I don’t bluff, I don’t grandstand. We just don’t have the votes for it.”
Behind Jayapal, liberal lawmakers have been lining up by the dozen to oppose the infrastructure bill, not to protest the policy, but because they want to vote first on a larger, $3.5 trillion social spending package that stands as the second piece of President Biden’s two-part domestic agenda.
Democrats in the House, Senate and White House have been busy negotiating the details of the larger “family” package, which party leaders intend to advance through a special budget process, known as reconciliation, that sidesteps the Senate filibuster.
Pelosi announced Friday that House Democrats are hoping to finalize the reconciliation bill and bring it to the floor sometime next week — a bid to satisfy the liberals threatening to sink the infrastructure bill. But given the outstanding divisions between House liberals and Senate centrists on the larger bill, it’s unclear if those negotiations will bear fruit in time to meet that ambitious schedule.
Liberals, meanwhile, are skeptical that whatever reconciliation bill emerges will satisfy their demands for expanding the nation’s safety net programs, tackling climate change and overhauling the immigration system.
“It’s not going to give us any comfort to pass a bill that then the Senate [defeats],” said Jayapal. “That doesn’t satisfy our requirements.”
She added: “It can only come to the floor once everyone’s agreed and once the Senate has voted on it.”
The internal sniping — combined with stonewalling by Senate centrists — has created a headache for Democratic leaders who are scrambling to realize Biden’s first-term domestic agenda.
The two-pronged legislation would not only accomplish a number of policy goals Democrats have sought for years, but would help prop up Biden’s standing in the face of falling approval numbers. Many Democrats see the success of the legislation as crucial to their prospects of keeping control of the House in next year’s midterm elections.
In an effort to advance both bills next week, the House Budget Committee will gather in a rare Saturday session to mark up a reconciliation bill. It will then move to the Rules Committee, which is likely to make changes before sending it to the floor. Pelosi said she’s hoping it happens next week.
“That’s the plan,” she said.