Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives met in an emergency session to consider rules on Sen. Sanders’ (I-Vt.) budget proposal, the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.
In a vote on rules to advance Sanders’ budget resolution, the House approved the proposal on a thin party-line vote. All 212 Republicans voted against advancing the budget, having spent much of today’s session pleading Democrats to deal with the Afghanistan crisis first. All 220 Democrats voted to advance the resolution.
The vote followed weeks of a prolonged stalemate between moderates in the House who refused to vote for the budget proposal before passing the infrastructure bill, and progressives who refused to vote for the infrastructure bill before passing the budget proposal. The moderates controlled only nine votes, but this would have been enough to cause Sanders’ budget to be rejected by the lower chamber. Initially, Pelosi referred to the tactics as “amateur hour,” but as the vote got closer Pelosi was forced to take their threats more seriously.
The situation intensified even more last week when moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) joined with the nine in secret meetings to advise them on negotiations with the Speaker and the White House.
In an emergency meeting with the leader of the House moderates last night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), the de facto leader of the moderate rebels. The meeting continued into this morning. The two reached an agreement that would guarantee the passage of the infrastructure bill by Sept. 27, a move that cushioned moderate concerns that the bill would not be passed.
By Joseph Lord