The move is the equivalent of a gamble that liberals who have allowed the infrastructure bill to proceed on their own will support it in a vote on Thursday.
WASHINGTON – California Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled to Democrats on Monday that she would go ahead with a vote on a trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill this week to salvage President Biden’s agenda in Congress, even as That party remained divided over a broad social safety net. Measure.
Progressive lawmakers have long warned they will not vote for the infrastructure law, which the Senate passed last month, unless a $3.5 trillion domestic policy and tax package even more expansive than the chamber clears. doesn’t do it
But in private remarks at her caucus on Monday evening, Ms Pelosi effectively separated the two bills, saying Democrats needed more time to resolve their differences over the multitrillion-dollar social policy plan. The move was a gamble that liberals who allowed the infrastructure bill to proceed on their own would support it in a planned vote on Thursday.
It also did not clarify the date of the more expensive Social Safety Net package, which Democrats are using a fast-track reconciliation process to protect against a Republican filibuster. But with little margin of control in both houses, Democratic leaders must keep all their senators united in favor, and they could lose at least three votes in the House.
Ms Pelosi said a change in her strategy came after it became clear that Democrats would have to shrink the size of the reconciliation package by $3.5 trillion. Mr Biden is in private talks with conservative-leaning Democrats to reach a settlement on the final numbers. The speaker outlined his new approach after speaking with New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, as the trio worked to unify their members behind the details of the package.
Ms Pelosi said Democrats were on time to move through a reconciliation package until 10 days ago, when she heard her remarks reduced the overall cost, according to a person familiar with her comments, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He was described. .
But it has been clear for weeks that conservative-leaning Democrats will not accept the size of the bill.
Lawmakers in both houses have said they hope to quickly resolve remaining differences between the moderate and liberal factions of their party, although many of the specific demands for the holdout remain unclear. Ms Pelosi reiterated that she would not take up a reconciliation bill that could not pass the Senate.
She told Democrats that the reconciliation measure remains important, but she wants to leave time for continued talks and avoid delays in voting on the bipartisan infrastructure law. That bill, which is now set for a vote on Thursday, includes $550 billion in new funding over 10 years and maintains a series of major transportation programs, with the fiscal year ending September 30.
But as Ms Pelosi sought to rally the party ahead of the vote, it remained unclear whether enough liberal Democrats would back down from their insistence that a reconciliation package be taken first.
Moderate Democrats were confident enough Republicans would support the infrastructure bill so that it could clear the House, sending the legislation to Mr. Biden’s table.
However, some progressives pushed back the speaker’s plan to separate the two bills, saying they still would not be comfortable supporting the infrastructure measure until they heard assurances from Senate moderates. That they would embrace the key components of the conciliation law.
“I would really like them to clarify their demands so that we can consider that,” Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, said of two major Senate moderates, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona.
“The bills are connected,” said Ms. Omar. “And they must be combined in order for anything to pass the House.”