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Politics Pelosi's Dems grit their teeth amid Senate infrastructure drama

12:30  20 july  2021
12:30  20 july  2021 Source:   politico.com

Infrastructure bill: Schumer and Pelosi face leadership test as legislative push kicks into high gear

  Infrastructure bill: Schumer and Pelosi face leadership test as legislative push kicks into high gear Democrats will face a critical month on infrastructure in July as they reckon with deep schisms in their ranks and questions over legislative strategy and policy specifics of a bill the party wants to position itself with ahead of the midterm elections. © Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speak to members of the press after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the U.S. Capitol August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have narrow margins in their respective chambers to pass any infrastructure legislation. | (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo). As the Senate ’ s bipartisan infrastructure talks drive closer to a ditch, the House is impatiently waiting for its turn at the wheel. Fresh off a two-week recess, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have begun early discussions about how to achieve the near-perfect sequencing needed to steer two behemoth bills — a bipartisan infrastructure deal along with a .5 trillion social spending package

Pelosi said she would push to pass the bill before Congress leaves town for its July 4 recess, and she noted that President Trump has spoken of the need for new infrastructure investment. The White House has reportedly discussed a trillion infrastructure stimulus package, but congressional Republicans have expressed concern about federal spending and the additional cost of any new stimulus package. Democrats urged Trump to enter into negotiations on how to pay for an infrastructure bill.

As the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure talks drive closer to a ditch, the House is impatiently waiting for its turn at the wheel.

Nancy Pelosi wearing a suit and tie: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have narrow margins in their respective chambers to pass any infrastructure legislation. © (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have narrow margins in their respective chambers to pass any infrastructure legislation.

Fresh off a two-week recess, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have begun early discussions about how to achieve the near-perfect sequencing needed to steer two behemoth bills — a bipartisan infrastructure deal along with a $3.5 trillion social spending package — through the narrowly divided House. But with the Senate likely to go first on both, it’s unclear whether the upper chamber can get either plan ready for House consideration in the coming weeks.

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  Daily on Energy: Democrats push to impose carbon tariffs Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 CARBON TARIFFS: Senate Democrats are proposing to impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports to help pay for their $3.5 trillion tax and spending infrastructure proposal, in a surprising move that opens up a web of complex questions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) told reporters on Thursday that Democrats were readying a possible .5 trillion infrastructure spending bill. There have already been various proposals to tie infrastructure spending to a coronavirus economic relief bill, although those efforts have so far not “As you know, the Grim Reaper has said nothing is ever going through in the Senate ,” Pelosi quipped on Thursday, referring to McConnell. However, “When people see the legislation, and people see how it does affect their areas….we think that this will be nonpartisan, very bipartisan, and we look forward to

Pelosi ultimately relented, put the Senate bill on the House floor, and it passed 305-102. More Republicans than Democrats voted for the measure -- a rare occurrence in the Democratic-led House. The bill did get support from more than half of Pelosi ’ s caucus, but most of the speaker’s own Pelosi loyalists said the speaker had tried weeks ago to rally her caucus around a proposal before the Senate effort, but progressives resisted every version of the bill that leadership presented. That meant that the Senate committee acted first, on a bipartisan bill, giving McConnell the upper hand.

That’s not sitting well with some Democrats.

“Obviously, we need to be more involved,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), describing the frustration of many House Democrats who want to have a greater role in the talks. “They’ve got to be able to pass something over there, and bring it over here ... That’s gonna be the tough part.”

Pelosi is telling her members to hold tight for now, reflecting a cautious degree of trust in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as well as her confidence that she can calm her anxious caucus. In a leadership meeting Monday night, she told lawmakers that they would let the Senate process play out, according to multiple Democrats familiar with the meeting.

“The timing is what his timing is,” Pelosi said in a brief interview Monday night, referring to Schumer. “As I say, bring the bill to the floor when you're ready to go. So I respect his timing.”

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  If Biden Burns AOC on $4 Trillion Deal, He’ll Pay the Price After four years of jokes that weren’t funny, it may finally be Infrastructure Week in America as Democrats race to move two major pieces of legislation: a $579 billion bipartisan plan to repair the nation’s ailing roads, bridges and energy infrastructure, and a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget plan that Senate Democrats plan to pass on a party-line vote. But while Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have focused on solidifying GOP support for the smaller, bipartisan bill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is vowing to torpedo Biden’s big package if progressive spending priorities are left out.

Nancy Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin made progress toward a stimulus deal in their latest talks Tuesday, but still have major differences. Most Senate Republicans have opposed injecting trillions more into the federal Covid-19 response. During a private Senate GOP lunch Tuesday, McConnell told his caucus that he is encouraging the Trump administration not to agree to a stimulus deal before the election as he worries about dividing Republicans on major legislation days before an election, NBC News reported.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday pressed the Democrats' case for expanding vote-by-mail across the country, escalating a fight with President Trump over how elections should be conducted in the year of the coronavirus. Pelosi and the Democrats secured 0 million in March to help states adopt mail-in voting amid the public health crisis. But that' s just a down payment, they say, for the billion required to establish such a system nationwide. Their latest pandemic relief bill — a massive trillion package approved by the House last week — contains the .6 billion to make up the difference.

The Senate is expected to hold a test vote Wednesday on President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal with the GOP, which includes nearly $600 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and broadband.

The bipartisan Senate bill has yet to be finished, with both parties still battling over how to pay for it. Senate GOP leaders are already predicting the Wednesday procedural vote has “no chance” of succeeding unless negotiators shape legislative text first.

But Schumer’s hardball move — forcing an initial vote even with the bill still in the drafting stage — has animated House Democrats' disparate factions, with all corners of the caucus plotting post-Senate vote strategy. The New York Democrat said on the Senate floor Monday night that he was proceeding as planned, and that if the Senate negotiators can’t finish in time, he might tee up some of their committees’ already-drafted transportation bills.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urged party unity amid Bernie Sanders' surge in the presidential race, even as House Democrats worry about a volatile election season that could put a self-described democratic socialist atop the ticket and threaten their majority. Senate Democrats are struggling to flip the chamber from Republicans, who have a slim majority, while House Democrats are working to retain their advantage. Pelosi said she thinks that "whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace — and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives."

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats on March 23 released a counterproposal to the Senate ’ s coronavirus stimulus package. Democrats ignore their own coronavirus guidance amid winter surge.

Pelosi, meanwhile, has to cool down antsy members who feel they’re being forced to watch the talks from the sidelines with little direct say in a multi-trillion dollar package they could be voting on just a few weeks after Senate action.

“We’re not a cheap date,” quipped House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) when asked about the House role in the talks. “I think we’re all in sync ... The House is going to do what we have to do.”

Those cross-Capitol tensions boiled over on Monday with House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) ripping into the Senate talks during a private call. DeFazio, who is enraged that the bipartisan negotiators seem to be largely ignoring the infrastructure bill he shepherded through the House earlier this year, even said he hoped the Senate talks fell apart.

He wasn’t alone. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), who also spoke up on that call, later described the “discombobulated” process between the House and Senate that has irked him and some of his colleagues.

“It's frustrating because I think we're all rowing towards the same goal, but it's fluid,” Carbajal said. “Sometimes it's counterproductive and we take two, three steps forward and a few back.”

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If the Senate test vote succeeds Wednesday, House moderates are privately planning an aggressive public relations push to convince Pelosi and her leadership team to immediately allow a vote on their side of the Capitol once the infrastructure bill clears the Senate.

Ten of those House centrists have already publicly called for their leadership to decouple the bipartisan deal from the party-lines budget blueprint, urging top Democrats to hold a vote before the August recess and “without any unnecessary or artificial delay upon arrival from the Senate.”

Progressives are taking an opposite tack, intent on holding Pelosi to her previous commitment that the Senate's bipartisan deal won’t get a vote until that chamber has also advanced the Democrats’ sweeping social spending plan. Liberals fear that Senate moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would balk at any additional spending as soon as the smaller bill they negotiated is signed into law, dooming the Democrats’ plans for a massive $3.5 trillion safety net investment.

“I’m hoping that she keeps her vow. I think she will. She’s been steadfast from the very beginning,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) of the speaker. “If she said it, she means it.”

But all the jockeying could prove for naught, with the prospects for any bipartisan infrastructure bill appearing rocky as of Monday night. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to join them to move the measure forward — something GOP leaders said won’t happen until it's fully written.

Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates

  Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates The congressional panel investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 dominated the political talk shows on Sunday morning. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled that she plans to appoint GOP Rep Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) to the select committee investigating the attack, saying "you could say that's the direction I would be going."One of the GOP lawmakers blocked from the panel by Pelosi also blamed Democrats for a "breakdown ofSpeaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled that she plans to appoint GOP Rep Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) to the select committee investigating the attack, saying "you could say that's the direction I would be going.

If the bipartisan deal does collapse, it would rip apart Democrats’ carefully choreographed legislative plan, raising huge new questions about what the party would put on the floor in the fall. Several senior Democrats said Monday that they still seriously believed the negotiators could reach a deal, though they said it remained unclear how the two sides could agree to billions of dollars in funding mechanisms.

“We can do a lot over here, but it doesn’t really matter what we do if [the Senate] can’t push something through,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.). “The next two weeks are pretty critical.”

For weeks, much of the debate on Biden’s spending plans has played out in the Senate, where Democrats must achieve perfect unity on any budget bills given the chamber's 50-50 split. But Democratic leaders will also face an enormous hurdle in the House, where Pelosi’s tight margins will only shrink after a special election in Texas later this month.

After that Texas run-off, House Democrats will only be able to lose three votes on any legislation. That promises to complicate the path for Biden’s massive domestic spending plan, not to mention the rest of Congress’s to-do list.

“There’s always that tension between the House and the Senate,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “And with margins being as thin as they are, it’s amplified even more because every vote becomes critical.”

Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.

A Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Moves Forward in the Senate .
There may trouble down the road with centrist Dems complaining about the bill’s size, but a motion to advance it to a final debate passed 67 to 32.The motion to advance a bipartisan infrastructure bill has been in the works since an event in late June at the Rose Garden, where President Biden appeared with 10 senators from each party to endorse their plan. With the motion to advance on Wednesday, an additional seven Senate Republicans voted with the group of 10 from the Rose Garden and all 50 Democrats to pass a motion to proceed to a debate and final vote on the package.

usr: 1
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