Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) broke with President Joe Biden Wednesday morning, refusing to bring the bipartisan “roads-and-bridges” infrastructure bill to the House floor without a guarantee that it is paired with a multi-trillion dollar “human infrastructure” package.
Last week, Biden hailed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan as a major achievement at a press conference on the White House lawn, just minutes before suggesting that the bill would only receive his signature if it is paired with — and passed with — a larger, “human infrastructure” package that includes major welfare expansions as well as a significant tax hike for many Americans.
Over the weekend, the Daily Wire reported that Biden backed down on that threat, reassuring touchy Republicans that he would sign the bipartisan compromise deal without a second bill attached.
Wednesday, Pelosi appeared to buck Biden, reportedly telling House Democrats that no bipartisan infrastructure package will pass without a “human infrastructure” bill.
‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday amplified her plans to link a bipartisan infrastructure agreement to a second package of Democratic economic priorities, rebuffing an appeal from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to decouple the two bills,” The Hill reported. “In a closed-door meeting with her caucus in the Capitol, Pelosi said her initial strategy — to withhold a House infrastructure vote until the Senate passes a larger, partisan families plan — remains unchanged, according to lawmakers in attendance.”
“What the Speaker has said, and I totally agree with her, is that we’re not going to vote on one until the Senate sends us both,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), told reporters, per The Hill. “That’s not changed.”
Pelosi, the outlet added, “is standing her ground, supporting the liberals in her caucus who are wary that enacting the smaller infrastructure bill — which the Senate is shooting to pass before the August recess — would erode the momentum behind the larger partisan package, which Democrats intend to pass by reconciliation.”
Biden has until August to pass any ambitious items on his presidential agenda, or he risks running into the start of the 2022 mid-term elections. Congress is also now just weeks away from summer recess, and a second compromise, this time on “human infrastructure,” is unlikely.
For Pelosi, the decision to double down on linking the infrastructure bills seems to demonstrate a chasm opening up in her own caucus. House progressives, including the so-called “Squad,” are already voicing opposition to the bipartisan “roads-and-bridges” bill, with Rep, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claiming Tuesday that the Senate agreement does not bind the House.
.@RepAOC: "The Senate doesn't run the show. The Senate doesn't tell the White House what to do, the Senate doesn't tell the House what to do… if the Senate really wants to run with their bipartisan bill… then they should give on reconciliation." pic.twitter.com/k0R8FAhU86
— The Hill (@thehill) June 29, 2021
“The Senate doesn’t run the show,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “If the Senate really wants to run with their bipartisan bill…then they should give on reconciliation.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that if House and Senate Democrats continue to be at odds over the infrastructure situation, then Biden should step in to demand they follow his lead.
“The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,” McConnell said.