House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has attempted to unite her caucus behind a pair of costly spending bills, though her recent action suggests she never intended to legitimately compromise on President Joe Biden’s partisan $3.5 trillion proposal.
After promising moderate Republicans that a smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill would be presented for a vote, Pelosi signaled on Wednesday that she might renege on her commitment amid complaints from the left.
“That completely sets off the timetable”
The speaker blamed resistance from moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for her reversal.
Both centrist senators have objected to the size and scope of the partisan budget reconciliation bill.
“In the meantime, there was this, ‘Oh my god, we can’t go to that number,'” Pelosi complained. “Well, that completely sets off the timetable.”
Notwithstanding a few concessions here and there, Pelosi has been generally aligned with her party’s progressive wing in the effort to pass Biden’s massive bill, which would require a unified Democratic Party to do in a narrowly divided Congress.
As the vote planned for Thursday approached, liberals began to protest more openly, insisting that they must receive a firm guarantee that Biden’s agenda would ultimately pass.
“I don’t want to be rolled”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) expressed his frustration with the situation, declaring: “I don’t want to be rolled. I think a lot of us want to make sure we have an assurance that, in fact, there’s going to be a reconciliation bill.”
Pelosi appears to share the progressives’ point of view, but Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition indicated that moderates would take it as a “breach of trust” if the speaker cancels the infrastructure vote.
It remains to be seen whether Pelosi offers some new commitment to moderates in her party or effectively ignores their grievances and pushes forward on the larger spending bill.
A vote on the infrastructure proposal had been scheduled for Monday before it was pushed back to Thursday. Now, the entire effort is in limbo.
Even as the nation remains mired in inflation and runaway debt, it seems clear that the far left is preoccupied with racking up even more federal spending while Democrats still have some power to exert in D.C.