Jayapal: It’s worth passing spending plan even if Democrats lose House

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said on Friday that it’s worth Democrats passing the party’s sweeping social spending and climate change package even if they lose the House in next year’s midterm elections.

Jayapal was asked early Friday ahead of an expected vote on the legislation if it’s worth the party passing the legislation if it could help the GOP take back the House next year, just as Republicans did in 2010 following passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“Of course it’s worth it if we’re making people’s lives better,” Jayapal said. 

“What’s the alternative? To do nothing. I mean, that’s not gonna that’s not gonna get us anywhere … part of what we have to do is really understand the economic frustration that people have right now. And I think that is really important for us.”

She also pushed back on labeling the sweeping spending package a “a messaging bill,” arguing there is agreement among members over a bulk of the proposals in the legislation.

“It’s not. Ninety-eight percent of this bill has been pre-conferenced. Ninety-eight percent of this was agreed to in a framework that President Biden put out [that] now has been translated into legislative text,” she said.

She acknowledged that the remaining “2 percent” would cover a proposal for a national paid family and medical leave program, which Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has opposed being included in the bill. 

“I submit that paid leave has not been agreed to. So, that’s going to be something that has to be worked out and anything that’s parliamentary,” she said. “But the idea that this is just a bill that has everything thrown in is not true.”

Democratic leadership hopes to pass the bill as early as Friday. Among a list of provisions included in the massive package are proposals for free preschool for kids ages 3 to 4, boosts to Pell Grant funding, healthcare expansions and billions for affordable housing.

Some centrists on Friday were expressing opposition to a vote, saying they want to get a score first from the Congressional Budget Office to determine the cost of the measure.

The Senate parliamentarian will also review the bill to make sure its provisions comply with the budgetary rules Democrats are using to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

— Updated at 11:14 a.m.

Tags Build Back Better Infrastructure Joe Biden Joe Manchin Paid Family Leave Pramila Jayapal

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