WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats Monday that the passage of the Infrastructure bill of $ 550 billion shouldn’t wait for President Joe Biden Billionaire Safety Net Bill, saying that the largest package is not yet ready for a vote.
At a private caucus meeting, Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the party must “make tough decisions,” because the dynamics have changed and Democrats have yet to agree on a spending level, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
“I told everyone that we would not go to the [infrastructure bill until] We got the Senate to pass the reconciliation bill. We were on schedule to do all of that, until 10 days ago, a week ago, when I heard the news that this number had to go down, “Pelosi said, according to the source.” Everything changed, so our focus had to change.
“We had to adapt to the changes that were necessary. And we cannot be ready to say until the Senate passes the bill, we cannot do BIF,” he said, using an abbreviation for Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the source said.
The comments represent a significant change for Pelosi, who promised in June that the House “will not” vote on the infrastructure bill until the mega-bill has been approved by the Senate.
The development indicates that the vote on the Senate-approved infrastructure bill is likely to take place in the House on Thursday, whether or not there is an agreement on the separate bill by then, which progressives have demanded in order to win their votes.
But it’s not clear that the infrastructure bill can pass the House, even if Pelosi calls for a vote.
Progressive House Democrats have threatened to reject the infrastructure bill if the vote comes Thursday before the mega bill is completed, fearing that centrist Democrats will seek to reduce or eliminate the bill. Larger law if the bipartisan infrastructure measure passes.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, held that position Monday night after the meeting, saying House progressives are prepared to reject the infrastructure bill on Thursday.
“We need the reconciliation bill, so this is a situation where the vast, vast, vast majority of Democrats want to finish the president’s agenda,” she said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “It can’t be a pinky promise, can it Rachel? It has to be a real bill that’s in writing, the legislative text is in writing, the numbers are agreed, everything is agreed.”
In her comments to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi said the House and Senate would have to agree on the largest bill before a vote could take place. That’s a tall order, as party leaders have yet to resolve a number of differences between Democrats, who have a minimal majority in the House and Senate, over politics and price. They have no realistic hope of winning Republican support for the package.
Despite her progressive roots, Pelosi has a history of protecting centrist members, who tend to represent swing districts and therefore decide whether Democrats have a majority in the House. His new position comes as centrists, eager to return home and campaign for a significant bipartisan achievement, clamor for a vote on the infrastructure bill.
The battle for the $ 3.5 trillion price is centered on Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, centrist Democrats who have insisted that it be reduced. But they have not indicated their price, which has lengthened the negotiations.
Manchin, asked repeatedly by NBC News on Monday, declined to say whether he would be comfortable with a $ 2 trillion spending level. He called for financial resources to be evaluated and work requirements added to benefit programs, as well as lowering qualifying income thresholds.
Manchin also indicated that he would not be willing to support a larger reconciliation bill if progressives in the House reject the infrastructure bill this week. He said he believes it will eventually pass, if not this week.
“I guarantee you this: the infrastructure bill will be passed before November 2022, before the elections,” he said. “I will guarantee that that bill will be passed before November 2022.”
Democratic leaders face a huge challenge to reach agreement on the mega bill by Thursday, which would unlock progressive votes to pass the infrastructure bill.
Biden spoke Monday with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. The White House said the three leaders “agreed on the need to continue working to advance the two laws that represent the president’s vision.”