Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants MORE (I-Vt.) on Tuesday urged House Democrats to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress approves the party’s reconciliation package, heightening the standoff between moderates and progressives as key components of President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE’s legislative agenda hang in the balance.
Sanders, in a series of tweets posted on Tuesday, said the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday without the reconciliation package would be “in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress.”
He also said such a move would “end all leverage that we have to pass a major reconciliation bill.”
I strongly urge my House colleagues to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 28, 2021
Sanders in August voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed 69 to 30 with bipartisan support.
Sanders’s strong comments come after House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday, during a private caucus meeting, told her Democratic colleagues that a vote on the passage of the Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill cannot wait for the party’s multi-trillion dollar reconciliation package, which is still being negotiated among lawmakers, according to NBC News.
She conceded that the final reconciliation package would not be ready by Thursday — when the House is set to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill — despite previous promises that the two crucial pieces of legislation would be passed together.
She specifically said the Senate’s demand that the price tag of the $3.5 trillion package “had to come down” threw the timing in question. Moderates, namely Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden: Negotiating assault weapons ban more difficult than infrastructure, reconciliation deal Biden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Biden says paid leave proposal reduced from 12 to 4 weeks MORE (D-W.Va.), have said the figure is too high, while progressives are firm in wanting the top line to stay where it is.
The prospect of the bipartisan infrastructure bill passing without the reconciliation package is angering progressives, who fear that moderate members will renege on their commitment to passing the larger package once the infrastructure bill is approved.
A group of 11 Democratic senators — including Sanders, who is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee — issued a statement last week calling on party leadership to stick with its original “dual track” plan and pass the reconciliation package in both chambers before voting on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House.
They said they backed the infrastructure package in a vote last month with “the clear commitment” that the deal would proceed alongside the reconciliation package, adding that passing the smaller bill without the larger one "would be in violation of that agreement."