House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) apparently didn’t buckle to pressure from a group of centrist House Democrats who, in a letter, urged the speaker to take a vote on President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill before considering a larger, $3.5 trillion budget bill, the Washington Examiner reported.
A group of nine Democrats penned a joint letter to the speaker, pleading with her to get the recently passed infrastructure bill passed first and foremost when the House returns to work later in August.
“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 nine Democrats wrote.
Not only are progressive Democrats unhappy with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but they’re also anxious to increase the already enormous $3.5 trillion bill with even more spending items.
Holding votes hostage
The stand-off creates a precarious situation between Pelosi and Democrats who’d like to get Biden’s legacy-level infrastructure bill passed and to his desk for a signature.
The speaker has insisted that she’s taking what essentially amounts to an all-or-nothing approach to the bill, as the second, much larger $3.5 trillion budget bill includes untold amounts of progressive Democrat wish-list items for issues like climate change and other “human infrastructure” items.
While nine Democrats doesn’t sound like many on the surface, that group is actually quite powerful, because with Pelosi’s razor-thin grip on majority control of the lower chamber, she can’t afford to lose more than three Democratic votes on the $3.5 trillion bill.
But apparently, that doesn’t matter, as Pelosi has signaled that the nine are outnumbered in strength by the rest of the Democratic Caucus, and as a result, Pelosi doesn’t seem to have plans on voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal this month.
While Pelosi’s radical progressive House Dems want even more social spending built into the second bill, thus increasing it, a number of Democrats are, surprisingly, expressing concerns over how such a bill will impact the national deficit, as at least half of the bill can’t be funded strictly through higher taxes on the wealthy.
“I am concerned about the size and scope of the package, and I think we have to be cautious about that,” Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said on MSNBC. “We need to see what’s in it. The specifics.”
Even several centrist senators, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), have expressed concern over the massive budget bill and the impact it could have on a struggling U.S. economy.
“I have serious concerns about the grave consequences facing West Virginians and every American family if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said recently in a statement.