December 6, 2021

Global News Archive

News archives from around the world.

Democrats set Friday vote on Biden’s infrastructure bill, but not social spending bill – NBC News

4 min read

WASHINGTON — After planning votes Friday on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and safety net bills, Democratic leaders changed course at the last minute, announcing that they’ll vote on the surface transportation legislation while leaving the larger spending bill to another day.

Within minutes, that plan was thrown into doubt.

In a letter to colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would vote Friday to pass the $555 billion infrastructure bill and to begin debate on the $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. The infrastructure bill has passed the Senate and would head to the president’s desk for his signature, if approved.

“The agenda that we are advancing is transformative and historic, hence challenging,” she said.

Pelosi’s announcement came after a narrow but pivotal group of centrists said they wouldn’t vote for the social spending bill without a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that shows it is paid for.

But progressives, who have spent months insisting the bills move together, immediately balked, leaving it unclear that the infrastructure package had the votes to pass the House on Friday.

“As we’ve consistently said, there are dozens of our members who want to vote both bills … out of the House together,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the progressive caucus chair. “However, if our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together.”

If the vote were to occur, it would put progressive lawmakers in a quandary. They fear that passing the infrastructure bill alone would give up some of their leverage to shape the Build Back Better bill. But voting it down would deal an embarrassing defeat to Biden and the party.

“This has been a bit of a curveball,” Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said. “It’s unsettling and disruptive and I hope we can get back on that original track.”

“It’s still a bit fluid.”

He also criticized centrist lawmakers who say they need to know how much the spending bill will cost before they vote on it.

“The people who were in a red hot hurry to pass a deficit-inducing [infrastructure] package and suddenly think a CBO score is a divine instrument that they have to have before voting on Build Back Better — I think that’s a pretty disingenuous position,” he said.

Lawmakers began the day planning to pass both. But Friday’s process slowed down moments after starting. Shortly after 8 a.m., House Republicans made a motion to adjourn — a common move by the minority used to stall the process. But more than six hours later, House Democrats still hadn’t ended the vote, an abnormally long time to hold a vote.

Democrats stalled in order to give them more time to convince lawmakers to vote “yes” on the bills and secure more support for the massive funding legislation.

As many as seven moderate Democrats were holdouts on the social safety net bill focused on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, two sources told NBC News.

But Democratic leaders have made clear a CBO score would not be ready by Friday.

A senior Democratic aide said that it could take weeks to calculate. Two estimates released Thursday weren’t enough to assuage the moderates’ doubts about adding to the nation’s deficit. A new White House estimate that said the bill was “fully paid for” and the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the Build Back Better bill would raise $1.47 trillion from new taxes.

The skeptical group of Democrats included Reps. Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, Ed Case, of Hawaii, Jared Golden, of Maine, Kurt Schrader, of Oregon, Abigail Spanberger, of Virginia, Kathleen Rice, of New York and Carolyn Bourdeaux, of Georgia.

Bourdeaux announced Friday she would vote “yes” if the social spending bill came up. Some of the others were seen as more willing to back the bill than others.

The lawmakers met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday morning, but two sources suggested they were “very dug in.”

On Thursday, Biden called numerous House members to garner support. In public remarks, he called on the House to vote “right now.”

For months, Democrats have encountered obstacles negotiating these two bills because of the intra-party divisions between moderate and progressive lawmakers. Leaders have had to postpone votes on the infrastructure package several times because of the insistence by progressives that they only vote on it in tandem with the Build Back Better bill.

Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday that she was “very unhappy” that the House didn’t pass the infrastructure measure last week.

“We’re going to pass both bills, but in order to do so, we have to have votes for both bills,” she said.

Haley Talbot and Kyle Stewart contributed.

Source Link

Leave a Reply

Copyright ©2016-2021 Global News Archive. All rights reserved.