A pair of moderate House Democrats called Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday night after President Biden made it clear his $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill will not proceed until party members agree on a broader social spending bill.
“While I have great respect for the president, I believe that her decision to again delay a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is incorrect,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida) said in a statement.
Pelosi had initially promised the moderates that the infrastructure bill would be put to a vote before September 27. He then allowed the deadline to slide into Thursday as progressives struggled and vowed to vote against the legislation if it made it to the House floor before the social spending bill, known as the Better Reconstruction Act.
After the Democratic leadership of the House could not secure an agreement would have allowed a vote Thursday night, Biden came to Capitol Hill on Friday afternoon and left no doubt that the the bills were “tied” according to progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).
In his statement, Murphy claimed that Pelosi had promised to “gather the votes” for the infrastructure bill to help secure its passage.
“This promise was enshrined in a House resolution that all Democrats supported,” he said. “This written commitment was the only reason there were enough votes in the House to equal start the reconciliation process – that is, to begin the process of drafting the Better Reconstruction Law “.
Murphy then turned to his far-left colleagues, who he said had tried to sidestep the bill “in a misguided effort to gain ‘influence’ over their fellow Democrats.”
“I hope my colleagues will reconsider their approach,” he added. “Whether they do or not, all members of the House should be required to cast a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and to accept the consequences of that vote.”
Murphy concluded by noting that he will support a social spending bill that “is as bold as the votes will allow, is fiscally disciplined, and prioritizes action to combat climate change. In my mind, there is no link between these two bills … No member of Congress, and certainly no member of my own party, has the slightest influence on my vote. I will do what I believe is best for my constituents and my country, and what is compatible with my conscience. “
Other moderate Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), said Pelosi had “violated her public and firm commitment to members of Congress and the American people to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill once in a century.”
“We cannot allow this small faction of the far left … to destroy the president’s agenda and stop the creation of two million jobs a year, even for the millions of workers,” Gottheimer added. “We were chosen to achieve common sense and reasonable solutions for the American people, not to obstruct from the extremes.
“This far-left faction is willing to jeopardize the entire president’s agenda, including this historic bipartisan infrastructure package. They have put civility and bipartisan government at risk, ”Gottheimer concluded. “I will not stop fighting for the people I represent, and I will not stop fighting for the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill to reach its goal, to support New Jersey communities, families and workers.”
Murphy and Gottheimer are members of the 19-member Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats. With the party with a majority of just eight seats in the House and all Republicans likely to vote against the Rebuild Better Act, Pelosi and her allies can only afford to lose three Democratic votes before the bill is defeated, which makes Murphy, Gottheimer and the other moderate a small but powerful block.