Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing a double loss Thursday, with both the trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure deal — or “BIF” — and the White House’s massive $3.5 trillion “reconciliation” spending package, are both set to meet failure in the House, with the progressives intent on killing the BIF and Senate mavericks, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) looking to derail the Biden administration’s pet “human infrastructure” package.
Pelosi insisted, as late as Thursday morning, that she intends to hold a vote on the BIF and then a vote on the “reconciliation” bill — a bill she’s pushed as a “zero cost” measure, despite its $3.5 trillion price tag.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday morning said she still is planning to have the U.S. House of Representatives vote later in the day on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, even as her progressive Democratic colleagues appeared set to block this key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda,” Marketwatch reported.
“We’re on a path to win the vote,” Pelosi insisted.
The “BIF,” as it’s known, was inked weeks ago in the Senate, but is meeting resistance from progressive Democrats in the House who want a much larger infrastructure package that includes provisions for pet progressive projects, and who believe the massive “reconciliation” bill, may never pass, particularly if Manchin and Sinema maintain their stand against the measure.
“We have said clearly, and we reiterated this again for the speaker and we’re in the same place that we will not be able to vote for the… infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill has passed,” progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told Fox News on Thursday.
“The speaker understands that it isn’t about the speaker’s word,” Jayapal added, referencing Pelosi’s commitment to the BIF. The moderates, Jayapal said, is the “group we’re concerned about. So this isn’t about trusting the speaker, it’s not about trusting the president. It’s really about the vote as an ironclad assurance in the Senate.”
“We will have a reconciliation bill. That is for sure,” Pelosi assured reporters. She later admitted, however, that the BIF is in jeopardy because of the Senate chaos.
“It’s impossible, though, to persuade people to vote for the BIF, without the reassurances that the reconciliation bill will occur,” she said, adding that, to alleviate her colleagues’ anxiety, that “there needs to be agreed-upon legislative text for the $3.5 trillion package in order for there to be support among progressives for the smaller measure,” because progressives are concerned that the package could change between a vote approving the BIF and a Senate vote on the reconciliation bill.
But Sinema and Manchin are still on the fence. Manchin wants a $1.5 trillion cap on spending on a bill slated to pass through reconciliation — a process by which pure spending and budget bills can become law by a simple majority, rather than a super-majority vote. And despite claims to the contrary, it appears Manchin presented a specific plan for his $1.5 trillion spending cap to the White House and Democratic leadership in July, leaving Democratic leadership struggling to explain why negotiations are coming down to the wire.
A senate aide confirms authenticity of this document from July, reported by Politico – that Manchin proposed to Schumer a topline $1.5T reconciliation bill, with debate to begin no later than 10/1/2021. Says Manchin does not guarantee vote for reconciliation if it exceeds $1.5T pic.twitter.com/JMX7SXxXyS
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) September 30, 2021
Sinema, likewise, said Thursday that she agreed with Manchin’s spending cap, presented months ago.
Statement on Budget Reconciliation Negotiations pic.twitter.com/QZpaMXxm7q
— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) September 30, 2021
Pelosi does appear to have scored at least one win: Republicans have tentatively agreed to a stopgap spending package designed to avoid a government shutdown, also slated to happen on Thursday.