WASHINGTON – Centrist House Democrats were locked in a stalemate over the weekend with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) On when to vote on a roughly $ 1 infrastructure bill Trillion dollars, jeopardizing the chamber’s ability to advance a large segment of President Biden’s agenda in votes expected earlier this week.
A group of nine centrist Democrats have been at an impasse with Ms Pelosi and the Liberal Democrats for more than a week over a strategy to tie the infrastructure bill, already passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, and the Mr. Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion in health, education and climate provisions under development. This bill should be based solely on Democratic support in a budget process. To unblock this process, Pelosi needs almost all of her caucus on board for a procedural step scheduled for this week in the House.
“Any delay in passing the budget resolution threatens the timeline for achieving historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share,” Pelosi warned in a letter to House Democrats on Saturday night.
Infrastructure and broader anti-poverty bills are at the heart of Biden’s national agenda, which he wants to keep on track after a chaotic week focused on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan . Months ago, Democratic leaders laid out a plan to pass the two bills in tandem through both houses of Congress. Their strategy gives the centrists – whose top priority is the infrastructure bill – and the liberal wing of the party – which is adamant about adopting the broader package – some leverage to ensure that two bills are passed as Democrats hold each chamber with the narrowest margins.
But earlier this month, the centrist Democratic group opposed the plan and demanded that Ms Pelosi first bring the infrastructure bill to the House for speedy passage. Unless that happens, they have threatened to oppose a fiscal framework, which is the first step in pushing forward the larger $ 3.5 trillion budget package and is expected to get a vote in the House on Tuesday.