Politics House readies key vote amid stalemate between Pelosi and moderates
Democrats brace for new spending fights over Biden agenda
Democrats are bracing for intraparty fights over crafting a multi-trillion dollar package to advance President Biden's agenda.The House this week adopted a $3.5 trillion budget plan that paves the way for lawmakers to pass the forthcoming legislation without any Republican votes. But the approval of the budget measure came after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was pressured into striking a deal with a group of moderate Democrats who were threatening to derail the party's spending plans. Democrats are now expecting further challenges in getting consensus in their caucus as they draft and attempt to advance the spending bill.
Washington — As the House prepares to vote Monday to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill and broader budget blueprint, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains locked in a with a group of moderate Democrats who are pushing for the chamber to swiftly take up the targeted infrastructure proposal.
The House is pausing its August recess to return to Washington for a procedural vote to move forward the infrastructure plan and budget resolution, passage of which will allow Congress to begin the process to take up a sweeping $3.5 trillion spending package through reconciliation. Both measures were approved by the Senate earlier this month.
Progressives Dig In On $3.5T Budget After Pelosi, Moderate Democrats Strike Infrastructure Deal
The progress came after days of internal infighting among leadership and the so-called "Mod Squad" of nine centrist Democrats.The chamber cleared a key procedural hurdle Tuesday, voting 220-212 to advance the budget resolution—which will allow Democrats to pass much more of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda, and without needing Republican support.
But the group of nine moderate Democrats has threatened to withhold support for the budget blueprint, which the House is expected to move to this week, unless Pelosi holds a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill first.
"You don't hold up a major priority of the country, and millions of jobs, as some form of leverage," the moderate Democratsfor the Washington Post. "The infrastructure bill is not a political football."
The central issue for the group is the timing of the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which may not come for weeks as Pelosi has repeatedly pledged not to bring the targeted measure to the House floor until the Senate clears the broader spending package. President Biden and Democratic leaders are using a two-track strategy to move the bipartisan infrastructure bill and broader $3.5 trillion plan through Congress and put their passage on firmer footing, given that Democrats hold slim majorities in both chambers.
After deal with moderates, House Democrats move forward on $3.5 trillion budget
The House moved forward on a $3.5 trillion budget plan Tuesday, as the Democratic leadership tries to keep its members united around President Biden’s agenda. The 220-212 vote was delayed after a group of 10 moderate Democrats said they would not vote yes on the budget until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed the Senate earlier this month. The bipartisan deal, negotiated by moderates in the Senate, contains about $550 billion in new money to spend on roads, bridges, waterways, public transit, railways, the power grid and broadband internet.
But the moderate Democrats have asserted that any delay in approving the infrastructure bill and sending it to Mr. Biden's desk harms American communities. Progressive Democrats, they argue, are holding the infrastructure bill hostage as lawmakers craft the $3.5 trillion package, which will include Democrats' plans for health care, child care, education and the environment.
"The House can't afford to wait months or do anything that will jeopardize passing this infrastructure bill or losing the bipartisan support behind it," Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, one of the leaders of the nine moderates,on Monday. "As they say in Washington, time kills bills. We have this opportunity within our grasp — let's not blow it."
Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House, and Pelosi can only afford to lose support from up to three members of her caucus if all Republicans oppose the rule, which sets the parameters of the floor debate and will be voted on by the House on Monday evening.
Pelosi, moderates inch closer to infrastructure, budget deal
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told rank-and-file Democrats in a private meeting Tuesday that she is inching closer to a deal with a band of centrist rebels who have threatened to tank President Biden's domestic agenda over disagreements about leadership's strategy for how to pass trillions in federal spending."I'm sorry that we couldn't land the plane last night, and that you all had to wait. But that's just part of the legislative process,""I'm sorry that we couldn't land the plane last night, and that you all had to wait.
While Pelosi set the vote to advance both measures in an effort to mitigate the concerns of the nine moderates, they've continued calling for the House to move on the infrastructure bill first.
But even as the group of nine digs in, the speaker has not budged from her push for the House to vote on the budget framework before the bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling her fellow DemocratsSunday they "must move quickly to pass the budget resolution this week."
"Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share," Pelosi, a Democrat from California, wrote, adding the House is "hard at work" to enact the $3.5 trillion spending plan and bipartisan infrastructure bill before October 1.
Pelosi reiterated Monday the House will vote on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package before the infrastructure plan, rejecting moderate Democrats' push for the bipartisan bill to come up for a vote first.
"We must not squander our congressional Democratic majorities and jeopardize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create historic change to meet the needs of working families," she said in a letter to House Democrats.
Wall Street is telling investors to prepare for the two big spending bills Congress is set to pass
Wall Street thinks moderates are bluffing and says investors should prep for both an infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Morgan Stanley and others say it's unlikely a group of nine Democrats will hold up President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion package of health-care and climate provisions. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said Congress should send infrastructure to Biden's desk first and then consider the $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan.
Progressive House Democrats, too, have said they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the larger budget measure passes the Senate. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that Mr. Biden supports Pelosi's path forward and called the debate within the House Democratic caucus on how to proceed "healthy."
"He's confident in Speaker Pelosi's approach and process, and will stay closely aligned," she said.
Mr. Biden spoke with Pelosi, Democratic leaders and congressional committee chairs in recent days, Psaki said, and White House aides have been in contact with a range of members within the Democratic caucus.
Both the bipartisan infrastructure bill, negotiated by a group of senators and the White House, and the $3.5 trillion package make up key aspects of Mr. Biden's domestic policy agenda. Congressional approval of the two would give the president significant legislative victories as his administration reels from the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The infrastructure bill, which includes $550 billion in new spending to revitalize the nation's roads, bridges, railways and ports, has been touted as the largest investment in the nation's physical infrastructure in decades.
Meanwhile, the larger $3.5 trillion package is still being drafted by congressional committees and will include Democrats' priorities on social programs that were left out of the infrastructure bill.
Democrats are using a process called budget reconciliation to pass the larger plan, which allows it to clear the Senate without Republican support. But its passage in the upper chamber isn't a sure thing, as two key moderate senators, Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have objected to the $3.5 trillion price tag.
Both Manchin and Sinema voted to pass the budget resolution, the first step in the reconciliation process, but Manchin on Monday urged the House to "unite and pass a critical priority of the American people — improving our nation's infrastructure."
"This is not about party or politics, it's about doing what is right for the country," he said in a. It would send a terrible message to the American people if this bipartisan bill is held hostage."
House Dems plan budget vote next week, defying moderates .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Democrats plan House votes next week on a budget resolution that could clear a path for future passage of a $3.5 trillion, 10-year social and environment package, suggesting a showdown ahead with rebellious party moderates. Nine centrists have threatened to vote against their own party's budget blueprint, enough to defeat it in the closely divided House. They want the chamber to first approve a separate $1 trillion bill financing highway, water supply and other infrastructure projects, their top priority. House leaders made clear Tuesday that's not their plan.Instead, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.