Finance

AFL-CIO presses for quick House passage of budget resolution

The AFL-CIO is urging House Democrats to promptly vote for the Senate-passed budget resolution amid divisions between liberals and centrists over moving a bipartisan infrastructure measure also approved by the Senate.

“Any delay in passing the budget resolution will jeopardize the transformative goals of the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation,” William Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

The House is set to return to Washington Monday to take up the budget resolution. Adoption of the resolution would allow Democrats to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a $3.5 trillion spending bill without any Republican votes. The spending bill, which has yet to be introduced, would include many of President Biden’s key priorities in areas such as health care, education, child care and climate.

A group of nine moderate House Democrats has threatened to vote against the budget resolution unless the House first votes to pass a separate Senate-passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and progressive lawmakers don’t want the House to pass the infrastructure bill until after the Senate passes the reconciliation package, which under the budget rules cannot be filibustered and could pass the Senate with just Democrats voting for it.

The opposition from the moderates is important given the slim majority Democrats hold in the House. Nearly every House Democrat has to vote for the budget measure for it to be approved.

The AFL-CIO is warning lawmakers against holding up the budget vote, arguing that the budget resolution facilitates investments that would grow the economy and create union jobs.

The resolution “makes the largest investment in America’s working families since the New Deal, making critical investments in families, education, paid leave, clean energy jobs, and housing,” Samuel wrote. 

The AFL-CIO said it also backs the bipartisan infrastructure bill and is confident that it will pass by the end of the year.

“There is no reason to threaten or delay passage of the much larger and more ambitious budget resolution, which needs to pass now if Congress is to complete the reconciliation process before the end of the year,” Samuel wrote.

The House is scheduled to vote on a rule Monday that would advance the budget resolution, the infrastructure bill and a voting rights bill, though final passage of the infrastructure bill is not expected until a later point.

The AFL-CIO urged lawmakers to support the rule, saying it “will allow votes on crucial infrastructure and voting rights legislation.”

The AFL-CIO is one of a number of outside groups that has weighed on the debate over the budget resolution in recent days. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the business-backed bipartisan group No Labels have run ads praising the moderate House Democrats who are pushing for an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill, while several progressive groups are running ads that criticize the moderates. 

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