Equilibrium & Sustainability

Hoyer: Vote on $1.75T spending package likely Thursday or Friday

The second-ranking House Democrat said Tuesday that party leaders are aiming to vote on President Biden’s $1.75 trillion climate and social spending package on Thursday or Friday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said “most of” the floor debate on the massive bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, will occur on Wednesday. 

“And then I expect a vote on the Build Back Better final passage at the earliest Thursday and at hopefully the latest on Friday,” Hoyer said on a press call. 

Hoyer, who is formally charged with setting the House floor schedule, allowed for the possibility that the final debate could be pushed to Saturday if objections emerge surrounding an imminent cost analysis being conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). But his “expectation,” he added, is to pass the legislation before then.

“The Thanksgiving break is about to occur, and I’ve told members that they would be out of here on Thursday,” he said. 

Hoyer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other party leaders had hoped to pass the social benefits package in the first week of November, before the weeklong Veterans Day recess. But that plan hit a brick wall in the form of a handful of centrist Democrats who balked at the notion of voting on such a huge amount of spending without a formal CBO estimate.

In negotiations with liberal leaders, the moderates agreed to support the bill after the CBO had supplied additional “fiscal information” — but they stopped short of demanding a comprehensive, interactive CBO accounting of the entire package. 

Democratic leaders are now leaning on that statement to suggest they’ll bring the bill to the floor before the full score is released — provided the moderates are satisfied with the provisional cost reports that the CBO has been releasing intermittently over the last several weeks.

“The statement that was issued by some of our colleagues within the caucus on this point was that they’re looking forward to additional information from the CBO. It didn’t necessarily reference a CBO score,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday morning. 

Hoyer, speaking to reporters shortly afterward, offered a similar interpretation of the moderates’ demands, saying it “does not necessarily mean a CBO score.”

“But it does mean that the overwhelming [amount of] information will be available to members so that when they do vote they will have that information.”

It’s unclear, however, if the provisional CBO reports will satisfy some of the moderates, particularly since the CBO announced Monday that it could provide a full accounting of the package by day’s end on Friday. That’s putting pressure on party leaders to wait for the final comprehensive analysis before staging the vote — an issue Republican leaders are already highlighting to frame vulnerable Democrats as fiscally irresponsible.

“Right now, the numbers look pretty good,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) said Monday. “But, you know, I come from a district that expects me to read every line.”

The timing of the House vote might be inconsequential.

On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a centrist who has not yet endorsed the Build Back Better framework, offered the latest warning to party leaders hoping to rush the bill to Biden’s desk, saying he has “a lot of concerns” with the plan to enact the legislation by Christmas.

Tags Build Back Better Act climate and social spending plan Elissa Slotkin Hakeem Jeffries Joe Biden Joe Manchin Nancy Pelosi Reconciliation Steny Hoyer

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