Nine Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday, saying that the House should vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before voting on the budget resolution that should clear the path for the Democrats’ larger partisan package. If Pelosi does not bring the infrastructure measure to the floor, they suggest they will imperil passage of the budget.
In the letter, reported by Punchbowl news, the lawmakers discussed the importance of the bipartisan infrastructure package and outlined their argument for voting on it before the budget measure.
“We urge our House colleagues to follow the same path as the Senate: vote first on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and then consider the budget resolution,” they wrote. “We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.”
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a bipartisan victory for our nation — the largest investment in infrastructure in a century,” they added, stating, “It includes major investments to fix America’s crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels, mass transit, railways, and water systems; it also allocates significant resources to electric vehicles, broadband buildout, climate resiliency, and environmental clean-up.”
The lawmakers pointed to some members of their own party who have pushed to delay the vote of the infrastructure package until the budget resolution is pushed through.
They wrote, “Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months – until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree. 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.”
The White House is also getting involved in the development of the two measures.
As The Wall Street Journal reported, “White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed confidence in the legislative pathway for the proposals, saying that just as Senate Democrats had come together to advance the two plans, ‘we are confident that House Democrats will do the same.’”
“Both are essential, and we are working closely with Speaker Pelosi and the leadership to get both to the president’s desk,” Psaki reportedly said in a statement Friday.
With 220 Democrats in the House, Pelosi can only afford to lose a few votes in order to pass the budget measure if every Republican votes against it. If all nine of the Democrats who signed the letter decide to vote against a budget resolution, it could jeopardize its passage and put legislators into more intense debates.
With Republicans pushing back against Democratic efforts to pass intensely partisan legislation, the Democrats can hardly afford to have to fight within their own party regarding the ordering of specific votes. Progressive Democrats in the House are taking a different stance than the nine lawmakers.
As The Wall Street Journal reported, the “Congressional Progressive Caucus said this week that a survey of its 96 members showed that a majority would withhold their support for the infrastructure bill until the Senate has passed the larger budget package.”
Progressive Democrats are counting on the passage of their larger, reconciliation bill in order to get their desired reforms into a package. Earlier this month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pressed that there will not be a bipartisan bill without a passage of the reconciliation bill.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper asked Representative Ocasio-Cortez if she would vote for the recent infrastructure package even though it is smaller than she had wanted.
“It has to — we have to hold onto the — we have to hold onto that bargain,” she said.
“If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House, and if the Senate does not pass the reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in,” she added.
“The votes in the House and Senate depend on us having both bills,” she said during a caucus call this week, according to an NPR source familiar with the call.
The Democratic lawmakers who signed the letter to Pelosi included Representatives Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Jared Golden (ME), Jim Costa (CA), Ed Case (HI), Kurt Schrader (OR), and Filemon Vela (TX), Henry Cuellar (TX), and Vicente Gonzalez (TX).
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