For some time now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has struggled to keep her caucus united. A recent report suggests that she might be losing the battle in a big way.
According to Breitbart, the speaker is facing intense pressure from 11 Senate Democrats to hold off on passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill until after the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill — the Democrats’ wish-list legislation — has reached President Joe Biden’s desk.
The senators applying pressure on Pelosi consist of Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey (D) and Elizabeth Warren (D), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Hawaii Sens. Mazie Hirono (D) and Brian Schatz (D), Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), California Sen. Alex Padilla (D), Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith (D), Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D), and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I).
Breitbart pointed out that Pelosi giving in to the progressive senators’ demands would violate a deal that she signed with members of her party in the House to hold a vote on on the infrastructure package by Sept.27, placing her in quite the political predicament — something she’s certainly not used to.
Promised on Aug. 24, the pledge was welcomed by centrist Democrats, with CNBC quoting New York Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D) as saying in a statement that the pledge had achieved “what we set out to do.”
He added that the agreement secured “a standalone vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, send it to the President’s desk, and then separately consider the reconciliation package.”
Going back on her promise would raise frustration among the supporters of the agreement, with CNN’s Manu Raju tweeting that Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) said she “would be deeply disappointed.”
“And I think that the mistrust that exists currently between members will spread to mistrust between leadership and members and I think that wouldn’t be healthy for our Congress accomplishing Biden’s agenda,” Murphy said.
Dem threats emerge
What’s more, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has vowed to vote against the massive reconciliation bill if the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is not passed by Sept. 27. That would be a fatal move given the current makeup of the Senate, with its 50-50 split.
However, should Pelosi stick to the agreement, it will undoubtedly anger far-left members of Pelosi’s caucus, such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
Breitbart reported that Jayapal and 93 other progressive House members are threatening to shoot down the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — a bill many believe Biden desperately needs to be passed to score a legislative victory — if it is passed before the $3.5 trillion spending proposal.
The degree of public infighting appears to be yet more proof that Pelosi is presiding over a deeply divided party, and that could have catastrophic implications as the 2022 midterm elections near.