Lawmakers gear up for spending bill, infrastructure votes

A staffer takes binders regarding the bipartisan infrastructure plan outside a meeting of Senate on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
Greg Nash

Lawmakers on Sunday took to the political news shows to express varying views on three major bills expected to come to the House floor this week; a $3.5 trillion social spending package with key Biden administration proposals, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a funding bill to prevent a government shutdown Oct. 1.

But the topline price tag on the $3.5 trillion bill may not reach the total the Biden administration wants, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) suggested it would be less.

Appearing, on ABC’s “This Week,” Pelosi said it was “self-evident” that the spending bill would be less than the $3.5 trillion proposed by the Biden administration in part because some Democratic lawmakers have said they won’t support it at that amount. Others say they won’t support the bipartisan package unless they vote on the $3.5 trillion bill first.

“I think even those who want a smaller number support the vision of the president,” Pelosi told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “We have to find our common ground, respectful of each other’s views. This isn’t about moderates versus progressives.”

Despite the expected changes, Pelosi expressed optimism that both the spending bill and the infrastructure package will pass.

“We will make progress on it this week,” Pelosi said of the spending bill.

“Let me just say we’re going to pass the bill this week,” Pelosi said of the infrastructure bill, adding, “I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.”

On Friday, Pelosi announced plans to vote on the infrastructure bill this week, though she stopped short of outright guaranteeing a vote at the time.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a moderate, also seemed to believe that it would be possible to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill while adding that lawmakers would “keep working” on the reconciliation package.

“You’ve got the infrastructure, a historic once-in-a-century [bill]… There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pass that right away and get those shovels in the ground,” Gottheimer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a senior Democratic caucus whip and a key progressive lawmaker who helps count votes, did not appear to share in her colleagues’ optimism, saying simply that “the votes aren’t there.”

“I don’t believe there will be a vote,” Jayapal said of the infrastructure bill on “State of the Union.” “The Speaker is an incredibly good vote counter, and she knows exactly where her caucus stands, and we’ve been really clear on that.”

According to The Hill’s whip list, there are currently 11 Democratic lawmakers who have publicly said they are opposed to passing the bipartisan infrastructure right now. There are also currently seven Republican House members who say they will vote in favor it.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) appeared to be on the same page as Pelosi, saying he would push for “big and bold” measures in the spending bill even as he acknowledged that the price tag was likely to change.

“If we do a $3 trillion bill, a $2.5 trillion bill, I’m going to push for as big and bold as we can. But it will be a historic investment in America,” Booker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Touching on the divide between progressive and moderate Democrats, Booker pushed back on suggestions that there was mistrust within the caucus.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of trust. I think it’s a matter of I’ve been around here, this town, now for eight years, watching the best of intentions not manifest into something real,” Booker told NBC host Chuck Todd. “And so I just want to make sure this is not about a bunch of people who are battling it out in Congress. This is about the American people.”

Tags $3.5 trillion spending bill bipartisan infrastructure bill Chuck Todd Cory Booker Cory Booker Democratic Party George Stephanopoulos Josh Gottheimer Josh Gottheimer Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Pramila Jayapal Pramila Jayapal

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