Last week ended in failure for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Fox News reports that after failing to unite moderate and progressive Democrats behind some $5 trillion worth of Democrat spending proposals, Pelosi ended the week by admitting that “more time is needed” to get the bills passed.
Pelosi admitted defeat in a letter she sent to Democratic members of the House after negotiations fell through on Friday.
“‘While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate, and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task,” Pelosi wrote.
“Our priority to create jobs in the health care, family, and climate agendas is a shared value,” she continued. “Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill.”
What are the bills?
The two bills being referred to here are the $1.1 trillion “bipartisan” infrastructure bill and President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better Act.”
Pelosi and Democratic leadership tried all week to unite moderate and progressive Democrats behind the legislation but had virtually no success in doing so.
House progressives have the ability to derail the $1.1 trillion bill, and they used that as leverage for the $3.5 trillion bill, refusing to vote for the former until they have some sort of guarantee on the latter. The problem, though, is that the moderates refuse to give in on the $3.5 trillion bill, causing a stalemate that Democrats can’t seem to break.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), in particular, have refused to get on board with the $3.5 trillion bill, despite Democratic leadership’s turning of the screws. A “No” vote from either is sufficient to sink the bill in the Senate, which is a major reason why no agreement could be reached.
An embarrassing week
Pelosi started the week by promising to get the $1.1 trillion bill passed by the end of the week. At first, in fact, Pelosi planned to hold a vote on the bill on Monday.
But with progressives threatening to tank the bill, Pelosi pushed the vote until Thursday, when she had to postpone it again because of s failure to reach an agreement among members of her own party. What makes it even more embarrassing for the speaker is that the bill already passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, as Breitbart noted.
This could end up a defining moment not only for Biden’s presidency, but also for Pelosi’s speakership. Both have vowed, however, to get the bills passed, one way or another.