House Democrats were approaching an indefinite vote Friday night on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, but the final vote on the larger social spending and climate bill has been delayed due to ongoing struggles between centrists and progressives.
Democrats also plan to vote Friday on a procedural measure related to the social spending bill. But the final vote was delayed more than a week to allow time for the economic cost analysis to be completed, which was demanded by the moderate.
The scheduling of the vote is a major gamble for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat from San Francisco), because progressives have said for months that they will vote against the infrastructure bill if it is not linked to a social spending package.
On Friday, progressive supporters called on Pelosi to postpone the infrastructure vote, with some threatening to vote against the infrastructure bill if Pelosi pushed for it without a social spending bill.
It remained possible that Pelosi would cancel the infrastructure vote if it turned out to be a failure.
Bills rarely make it to the House of Representatives – especially under its leadership – without guarantees that they will be successful, adding a significant level of uncertainty to how the evening will go.
But on Friday, Pelosi said she believed “there are a large number of members of the Progressive faction of Congress who will vote in favor of the law. This is my understanding. “
Pelosi had some good options. Members of the Black Congressional faction, with significant political power, called on it to give two votes in sign of progress. According to sources in the Democratic Party, the moderates would only agree to this if the infrastructure package were voted first.
While most major legislation suffers in fits and starts during sausage legislative production, the feverish negotiations over this package are particularly large. fraught with, a reflection of the small three-vote majority held by House Democrats.
On Friday, it seemed briefly that the progressives would abandon their demand for the two voices to be combined. But now they must decide whether they will vote against part of Biden’s agenda in the hall and whether Pelosi will put her first floor loss in a big vote. They huddled in the Congress room for over two hours to think about the plan.
If the infrastructure bill doesn’t go through, he won’t die. It can be put to the vote again.
“I have no idea” what’s going to happen tonight, said Rep. Kayali Kahele, Hawaii, who said he would not support a bipartisan infrastructure bill if passed without the social spending bill.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalwa (Arizona Democrat), another progressive, said he would vote on the infrastructure bill rather than delay it.
“If it ends like this, what am I going to do, you know, keep pulling for this?” – said Grijalva. “The risk of inaction is more serious for me than consistency” of the voices.
Other progressives have said they will at least hear Pelosi’s serve. “I’m open to hearing leadership,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (Democrat from Fremont).
Once passed in the House of Representatives, the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill, approved by the Senate in August, will be sent to Biden for signature. A White House spokesman said Friday that Biden would sign it.
While a successful vote on infrastructure would be a sign of progress on the first part of Biden’s agenda, this achievement has been marred by the long and convoluted process of compiling a social spending metric.
Despite pressure from Biden and Pelosi, the infrastructure bill was canceled three times because progressives did not support it until they received assurances that the Senate would pass the social spending bill.
The vote on Friday marked the final separation of the two bills.
Biden has promised progressive supporters to vote in the Senate on the spending bill. If the vote on Friday is successful, it will symbolize progressives’ confidence in this promise.
Progressive people have many reasons for being nervous. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have already removed progressive priorities from the bill and have not publicly pledged to support the latest $ 1.85 trillion version.