Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' King family to march for voting rights in Arizona before MLK Day GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel MORE (D-Calif.) told Democrats she will bring a Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor later Thursday, rolling the dice with progressives who are vowing to vote down the roads-and-bridges package unless a bigger social spending package moves with it.
Pelosi “said she’s going to hold the vote open until we get a majority,” House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthOn the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices More than 30 million families to lose child tax credit checks starting this weekend On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood MORE (D-Ky.), a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, told The Hill after Democrats’ meeting with President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head David Weil: Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing MORE in the Capitol.
Addressing her rank-and-file members after Biden, Pelosi rallied Democrats to give the president a victory as he embarks on a European trip Thursday to address the Group of 20 and a United Nations climate summit.
“When the president gets off that plane we want him to have a vote of confidence from this Congress,” Pelosi said, according to a source in the room.
“In order for us to have success, we must succeed today.”
Pelosi is effectively daring progressives to directly undermine Biden on the world stage.
Progressives have held up the Senate-passed infrastructure bill for months, demanding a vote on the social safety spending measure.
Democratic leaders are also trying to advance their agenda to boost Democratic gubernatorial candidates ahead of key elections Tuesday and before surface transportation programs expire on Sunday.
Biden stepped up the pressure in his meeting with House Democrats, imploring his party to deliver his agenda not just to boost the party, but to show that American democracy can still function as he meets with world leaders.
“The rest of the world wonders whether we can function,” Biden said. “They look at Jan. 6. A Republican Party that’s for nothing.”
Biden sought to assure progressive Democrats that the framework for the social spending package — which includes funding for universal preschool, a child tax credit extension and an expansion of Medicare to include hearing, among other provisions — would get 50 votes in the Senate.
“We badly need a vote on both of these measures,” Biden said. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week.”
Progressives remained unconvinced that the framework is enough of an assurance that the two centrist senators who’ve pushed to pare back the legislation — Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing King family to march for voting rights in Arizona before MLK Day MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing King family to march for voting rights in Arizona before MLK Day MORE (D-Ariz.) — won’t renege in some way.
Top progressives maintained Thursday that they still wanted legislative text for the social spending package before they’d feel comfortable backing the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalSanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans Centrist Democrats urge progressives to tamp down rhetoric Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit MORE (D-Wash.), the Congressional Progressive Caucus leader, planned to survey the 94 other members in her caucus but predicted that they’d need something more concrete than the White House framework.
“We have had a position of needing to see the legislative text and voting on both bills. And we'll see where people are, but I think a lot of people are still in that place,” Jayapal told reporters after the meeting with Biden.
“I’m still going to be a ‘hell no’ [on infrastructure] unless I see both move,” Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities Michigan redistricting spat exposes competing interests in Democratic coalition Tlaib announces run in new Detroit district with Lawrence retiring MORE (D-Mich.), a member of the progressive "squad," said after the meeting.
House Democrats can only afford up to three defections and still pass legislation on their own. But Pelosi will likely have some wiggle room for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, since at least seven Republicans have previously indicated they will vote for it.
That could allow the infrastructure bill to pass even if the entire "squad" of liberal lawmakers defect from their party on the vote.
Many members of the Progressive Caucus, including Reps. Norma TorresNorma Judith TorresDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit House passes giant social policy and climate measure State Democrat group teams up with federal lawmakers to elect down-ballot candidates MORE (D-Calif.) and Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Buttigieg touts supply achievements at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach California Assemblywoman launches congressional run, setting up contested primary MORE (D-Calif.), have pledged to vote "yes" on infrastructure whenever Pelosi calls the vote.
“The sense in the room was that this is a critical moment,” Lowenthal told The Hill. “Obviously it’s up to every person to do what they want to do, and nobody was told what they have to do. But I think you could feel the importance of this moment at this time.”