House Democrats are threatening to defeat a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill passes alongside it.
Among the contested components of that bill is one of the left’s highest priorities: amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants.
“Socialist shopping list”
Democrats plan to advance their partisan bill without GOP support through the reconciliation process that began earlier this week. Party leaders must remain united to pass the measure, which allows legislation to pass with a simple majority vote, since they hold just a slim advantage on Capitol Hill.
For his part, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has hailed the infrastructure deal as a bipartisan achievement and joined 18 others in his party to pass it this week. Although he is opposed to the $3.5 trillion “socialist shopping list,” it remains to be seen whether he has squandered the Republican Party’s leverage with the passage of the smaller bill.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Democratic Caucus is tossing out any pretense of bipartisan cooperation.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), members wrote that they would refuse to pass the infrastructure legislation until the larger bill has been advanced.
Reps. Pramila Japayal (D-WA), Katie Porter (D-CA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made no attempt to conceal their ambitions, describing the reconciliation bill as “social, human, and climate infrastructure” comprised of the progressive agenda items.
“Shared and longstanding…priorities”
Their letter demanded that the “reconciliation framework reflects our shared and longstanding investment priorities, and that the Senate first adopts this reconciliation package before House consideration of any bipartisan infrastructure legislation.”
Of course, the far-left persuasion is likely unnecessary since Pelosi has indicated that she would refuse to take up the bipartisan measure before the larger reconciliation bill.
In fact, the situation appears to be playing out how Pelosi and Schumer desired, placing them in a position to move toward their political ambitions after having secured a deal with their Republican counterparts.
One of the potential wrinkles in their plan, however, could be moderate Democrats in swing states who have expressed their own misgivings about the size and scope of the reconciliation bill.
Nevertheless, there is currently little standing in the way of congressional Democrats hoping to pass an amnesty measure without any support necessary from the other side of the aisle.