December 7, 2021

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Pelosi scraps Biden’s BBB vote for infrastructure, but progressives threaten boycott – New York Post

3 min read

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Friday afternoon that her chamber would hold a vote on a Senate-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before the end of the day — but could not say whether the measure had the votes to pass.

“We’ll see, won’t we?” Pelosi (D-Calif.) answered when asked whether she had the support to overcome objections from progressive Democrats who have vowed to sink the infrastructure bill if the House does not also pass President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion social spending bill at the same time.

CNN reported Friday afternoon that Biden had called Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in an apparent effort to persuade her to stand down and support the infrastructure bill. But despite the president’s efforts, the outlet reported, Jayapal told Biden she would still vote “no.”

CNN also reported that at least 20 members of the progressive caucus were ready and willing to vote against the infrastructure bill as of Friday evening, more than enough to send it down to defeat. 

Earlier in the day, Jayapal had expressed willingness to wait for the Congressional Budget Office to perform a full analysis of whether the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act would expand or reduce the federal deficit — a condition she said had been demanded by six moderate House Democrats skeptical of the size of the bill. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer D-Md., accompanied by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Friday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer D-Md., accompanied by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Friday.
AP
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks during an interview as House Democrats work on infrastructure and spending bills on Capitol Hill on November 4, 2021
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks during an interview as House Democrats work on infrastructure and spending bills on Capitol Hill on Nov. 4, 2021.
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
President Biden has sought to pass large infrastructure and social spending bills.
President Biden has sought to pass large infrastructure and social spending bills.
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

“We now understand that there are six Democratic members who want to have a formal CBO score on Build Back Better before voting,” Jayapal said in a statement.

“A full accounting of the spending and revenue has been provided by the White House, numerous pieces of the legislation have already been scored, and the JCT has put out analysis that Build Back Better will contribute to reducing the deficit,” she continued.  “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.”

Such a process would delay any potential vote until later in the month, an intolerable prospect for Congressional Democrats hoping to gift Biden a much-needed win on his agenda.

The House had convened early Friday morning in the hope of quickly passing the infrastructure bill as well as a procedural vote on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act. Instead, a vote on a motion to adjourn was held open for more than seven hours as Pelosi and her lieutenants tried to secure the required support. 

More than eight hours after the House had been gaveled into session, Pelosi acknowledged that while she had hoped to bring both bills up for a vote Friday, “some members want more clarification or validation of numbers that have been put forth … that it is fully paid for, and we honor that request.”

The speaker added that it would take “another week or so to get the numbers that they’re requesting” and she still hoped to pass the social spending bill before Thanksgiving. 

Minutes later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced that leadership planned to hold a vote on the social spending bill the week of Nov. 15 and he was “absolutely convinced” it would pass. 

Congress is under pressure to deal with both bills before a Dec. 3 deadline to pass legislation that would prevent a government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling, avoiding an unprecedented double blow to an economy that is still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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