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Politics House moderates threaten to block budget vote over infrastructure funding

14:30  25 september  2021
14:30  25 september  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

House Democrats face major divisions over infrastructure strategy

  House Democrats face major divisions over infrastructure strategy House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is signaling that she won't be backed into a corner next week by moderates in her caucus who are refusing to back a budget agreement unless the speaker first allows a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks before a bill enrollment ceremony for "H.R. 1652 - VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021" on July 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. The bill supports funding for state-level programs that help crime victims.

A group of House moderates is threatening to blow up Democrats' plans of passing a $3.5 trillion budget resolution when the chamber is set to return the week of Aug. 23 unless the chamber also votes on the $1.1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

House Democrats intended to vote on the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint in late August after the Senate approved the measure this week. The budget blueprint allows both the House and the Senate to craft a reconciliation bill, filled with progressive priorities, that can be passed with a simple majority and without Republican support.

Biden meets with congressional dems as his domestic agenda hangs in balance

  Biden meets with congressional dems as his domestic agenda hangs in balance With his domestic agenda imperiled by disagreements within his party, President Biden is set to meet with moderate and progressive Democrats on Wednesday in a bid to bring the two factions together ahead of a looming vote on infrastructure spending. The meeting comes in advance of next week’s major House vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal that appears to be on shaky ground. Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been pushing a two-track strategy that couples the smaller bipartisan deal with a larger, multi-trillion-dollar budget package.

Nancy Pelosi wearing a blue shirt © J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE MORE: Democrats' $3.5T bet on 'human infrastructure' package puts House and Senate on the line: ANALYSIS

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the House will not vote on the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill until the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill has also cleared the Senate, a condition which is wholeheartedly approved by progressives in her party.

Nancy Pelosi wearing a blue shirt: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gives her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 6, 2021. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gives her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 6, 2021.

"We have been clear for three months that we are not going to vote for the bipartisan package unless there is a reconciliation package that has passed that includes sufficient funding for our five priorities," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters earlier this month.

Nine moderate Dems threaten budget and infrastructure deals

  Nine moderate Dems threaten budget and infrastructure deals A group of nine moderate Democrats told Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday they won't vote for the $3.5 trillion budget package until the House passes the bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate. The threat is enough to sink the budget deal, which contains a long list of social policy items demanded by progressives.But, in the other corner of the party are the liberals, who've told Pelosi they won't vote for the infrastructure deal until the Senate passes the budget package.Friday's announcement puts Pelosi in a rock and hard place between the two wings of her party.

In the letter sent to Pelosi on Friday, moderate lawmakers insisted on a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and have said their districts can't afford "months of unnecessary delays."

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Democrats have just a three-seat majority in the House. Any handful of members can be potential roadblocks if they are determined enough to challenge Pelosi and the White House.

"The country is clamoring for infrastructure investment and commonsense, bipartisan solutions," the letter states. "With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can't afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package. It's time to get shovels in the ground and people to work."

Pramila Jayapal holding a sign: Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks at Go Bigger on Climate, Care, and Justice! on July 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. © Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Green New Deal, FILE Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks at Go Bigger on Climate, Care, and Justice! on July 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., a co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and endorsed by eight other moderate Democrats: Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jim Costa of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Filemon Vela of Texas, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ed Case of Hawaii and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia.

Meet Pramila Jayapal and Josh Gottheimer, the Democrats leading factions that are at odds over infrastructure

  Meet Pramila Jayapal and Josh Gottheimer, the Democrats leading factions that are at odds over infrastructure The Democratic-led House will vote on bipartisan infrastructure legislation Thursday, but two parts of the House Democratic Caucus remain at odds. Your browser does not support this video Moderate and progressive Democrats are working through disagreements on how to proceed ahead of the critical vote. Leading the way? Two powerful House members: Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., a moderate and co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

MORE: Senate passes $1.1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in big win for Democrats

A senior Democratic aide downplayed the threat Friday and said the moderates represent a small fraction of the larger caucus that approves of Pelosi's original plan.

"This is 9. There are dozens upon dozens who will vote against the [bipartisan infrastructure bill] unless it's after the Senate passes reconciliation," the aide told ABC News.

Josh Gottheimer wearing a suit and tie: Rep. Josh Gottheimer and other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus hold a news conference to show support for their bipartisan infrastructure bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 30, 2021. © Bonnie Cash/UPI/Shutterstock, FILE Rep. Josh Gottheimer and other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus hold a news conference to show support for their bipartisan infrastructure bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 30, 2021.

The aide added that there are "not sufficient votes" to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill this month and noted Pelosi's comments to her caucus during a private call earlier this week, when she said her plan reflected a "consensus" of House Democrats.

"The president has said he's all for the bipartisan approach ... bravo! That's progress, but it ain't the whole vision," she said. "The votes in the House and Senate depend on us having both bills."

Democrats’ infrastructure gamble actually seems like it could be working .
A lot could still go awry, but the Senate made some important progress this week.Effectively, they planned to do two things in parallel: work to advance a bipartisan infrastructure bill containing provisions Republicans and Democrats agreed on (like money for roads and bridges), and use a special budget reconciliation process to pass the priorities with only Democratic support, such as the extension of the child tax credit and a payment program intended to incentivize the use of clean energy.

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