President Joe Biden has demanded that Congress reach a deal on massive spending bills working their way through the House and Senate before he leaves for a United Nations climate summit in Scotland, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has scheduled a Rules Committee hearing for Thursday morning in anticipation of a forthcoming vote. Democrats, though, are still far apart on a deal to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and its companion $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” spending package — and they’re starting to lose their cool.
“There’s been nonstop talks: Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., were at the White House Tuesday night, as was House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. The Congressional Black Caucus was there too, where they say they had ‘a full dialogue’ with Biden,” Fox News reported. “And Democrat leaders have projected sunny optimism – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday that a deal could come in a matter of ‘hours.’”
So far, though, a deal has failed to materialize, with House progressives demanding assurances that the more expansive spending legislation will pass the Senate before they agree to lend “yes” votes to the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill. Moderate Democrats are demanding an opposite assurance that the hard-fought bipartisan bill pass the House before the House takes up larger spending packages.
“It’s the effing progressives,” a moderate Democrat told Fox, suggesting that expansive spending and a related “billionaires tax” plan, championed by the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other leftist members of Congress were stalling the passage of signature legislation.
Sanders fired back, accusing moderates of stalling “sensible” funding provisions.
“It seems to me almost every sensible progressive revenue option that the President wants, that the American people want, that I want, seems to be sabotaged,” Sanders said.
Progressives not only want the expansive $3.5 trillion spending bill, but they also want both bills passed on the same day — the bipartisan bill in the House, then the spending bill in the Senate. They do not want a “framework” that guarantees passage of the bipartisan bill that allows the Senate to continue to debate the spending bill once the House agrees to pass the other, more moderate measure.
The Senate, though, cannot pass the spending bill without buy-in from two key Senators — Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — because the bill has no Republican support.
Pelosi asked key members of Congress to go “pens down” on any agreed-up provisions of the spending bill in hopes that ending debate on some issues will move the process along faster. She also sent a notice to House Democrats announcing that she’s preparing the House Rules Committee for a vote on the matter.
— Jennifer Shutt (@JenniferShutt) October 27, 2021
Progressives responded by telling Pelosi that the “votes are not there.”
On Pelosi suggesting a BIF vote prior to reconciliation text/vote, a progressive aide tells me:
"Yeah we were all taken aback by her comments. Definitely caught us off guard. Not sure if she really thinks she can will this thing through, but the votes are not there."
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) October 27, 2021
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), a member of the progressive “Squad,” told media she believes there are at least 12 progressives willing to tank the bill.