Pelosi presses ahead with planned Thursday vote on infrastructure

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' MORE (D-Calif.) is pressing ahead with her plan to stage a Thursday vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, brushing aside threats from liberals vowing to sink the proposal and expressing confidence it will pass.

"We’re on a path to win the vote," Pelosi said. "I don't want to even consider any options other than that."

Pelosi has promised moderate members of her caucus a Thursday vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support last month.

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But she's also stipulated that she'll never bring a bill to the floor knowing it will fail — a condition that's created an enormous dilemma for Democratic leaders, since dozens of liberals appear to be lining up in opposition to the infrastructure bill to protest the lack of progress on a larger, $3.5 trillion social benefits package that stands as the second prong of President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE's two-part domestic agenda.

Even as Pelosi was projecting optimism that the infrastructure bill will find the necessary support to pass Thursday, her top lieutenant, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerSenate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff MORE (D-Md.), was sounding a different message.

Asked if he's confident it will pass, Hoyer was blunt: "Nope."

The impasse on the larger "family" benefits bill has originated in the Senate, where a pair of moderate Democrats — Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump haunts Biden vaccine mandate in courts IRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks MORE (W.Va.) and Kysten Sinema (Ariz.) — has rejected the $3.5 trillion price tag, as well as a host of benefits they deem too generous.

Manchin on Thursday announced that his top-line spending number for the budget reconciliation package is $1.5 trillion, far below the $3.5 trillion spending goal set by the budget resolution that he and every other Senate Democrat voted for last month.

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Cheered by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWTO faces renewed scrutiny amid omicron threat Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE (I-Vt.), House liberals are hinging their support for infrastructure on firm assurances that all 50 Senate Democrats are committed to supporting the larger social spending bill, which party leaders intend to move by a special budget procedure known as reconciliation that nullifies the GOP's filibuster powers.

Those liberals are digging in, and appear to have the numbers to sink the bipartisan public works package.

"We're a 'no' on the bipartisan [infrastructure] bill until we get a vote on the reconciliation bill," Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill MORE (D-Wash.), head of the Progressive Caucus, said Wednesday evening.

Pelosi acknowledged that the infrastructure bill is doomed without those assurances from the Senate holdouts. But she praised Manchin on Thursday as a "great" member of Congress, and suggested the House, Senate and White House are closer to a deal than the public clashes have suggested.

"We have to have an agreement together," Pelosi said. "I think that the path we are on is leading to that agreement."

Asked if that agreement can arrive in time to salvage Thursday's infrastructure vote, the Speaker said, "That is the plan."

Updated at 12:43 p.m.