Friday morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that the House would vote on the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill during its Friday session. This vote comes as the gap between progressives and moderates continues to widen.
Initially, the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill, crafted by Senate Republicans and Democrats, on Monday. However, divisions within the party forced Pelosi to delay that vote.
Party Divisions Persist As Pelosi Expresses Confidence
Since early August, moderates and progressives in the House have been playing a game of political brinksmanship with the infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Both wings control more than enough votes to tank the other’s priorities.
Pelosi originally wanted to move the bills forward together as part of what Democratic leaders called a “two-track strategy.”
Nine moderates rejected this strategy in an August letter to Pelosi, saying that they would not vote for the budget bill unless it was de-linked from the infrastructure bill. The infrastructure bill, they said, was “a bipartisan victory for our nation,” and they opposed entangling the legislation with the more partisan budget bill.
Pelosi initially dismissed the rebellion as a kind of political “amateur hour.” However, these moderates refused to relent, forcing Pelosi to make an eleventh-hour agreement with them on the day of a vote to advance the budget bill to committees for drafting. Under the terms of the agreement, moderates would vote to advance the bill in exchange for a promise on a Sept. 27 vote on the infrastructure bill.
Monday, the deadline laid out in the agreement, came and passed without a vote. Pelosi delayed the vote to Thursday, but was unable to fulfill the promise because of continued threats from progressives.
Many progressives demanded that the infrastructure bill not be passed before the budget bill. The House progressive caucus, with its 95 votes, has continued to insist that they stand by the threat. A prominent progressive in the Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) re-upped this challenge on Tuesday when he demanded that the infrastructure bill not be passed until a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill was passed.
By Joseph Lord