Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better Let's 'reimagine' political corruption Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement 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 BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better 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 ManchinPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better On The Money — Fed's inflation tracker at fastest pace since '82 Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Left says they're not to blame for Biden's problems 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 JayapalPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better Left says they're not to blame for Biden's problems On The Money — Economy had post-recession growth in 2021 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 TlaibDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer 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 TorresHarris bets on new Honduran president to revive Central America policy Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit House passes giant social policy and climate measure MORE (D-Calif.) and Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalBass raises nearly million since launching LA mayor campaign On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Buttigieg touts supply achievements at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach 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.”