Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Saturday set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the House to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter released on Saturday, Pelosi said that “more time was needed” to pass the infrastructure bill along with the larger, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package after scrambling over the past two days to get enough votes.
The Speaker said she wants to pass the bipartisan bill by Oct. 31, when the 30-day reauthorization of federal highway programs expires. The House passed the extension Friday night amid the Democratic infighting over infrastructure.
“There is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline, after last night’s passage of a critical 30-day extension,” Pelosi wrote. “We must pass BIF [bipartisan infrastructure framework] well before then – the sooner the better, to get the jobs out there.”
House Democrats tried to break an impasse between moderates and progressives on the bipartisan infrastructure package after progressives threatened to sink it if the larger “human infrastructure” bill would not pass via budget reconciliation.
President Biden visited Democrats on Friday seeking to ease tensions between the two factions, during which he told moderates that the vote would not happen that day. However, he also called for the liberal wing of the party to be willing to compromise.
Both bills are critical to realizing Biden’s domestic agenda.
The decision to delay the vote has angered moderates who were looking to pass the bipartisan bill on its own this week.
In her letter, Pelosi acknowledged the “two dynamics” that clashed in the past few days, adding that “out of respect for our colleagues who support the bills and out of recognition for the need for both, I would not bring BIF to the Floor to fail.”
“Again, we will and must pass both bills soon. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to do so. People are waiting and want results,” the Speaker wrote.