House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appears to be moving closer to destroying the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Senate.
According to reports, the speaker has decided to hold the bill hostage in an effort to force through a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation proposal.
“Until the reconciliation process is completed”
Her moves appear to have infuriated some Democratic leaders — including President Joe Biden, who is now looking on as his coveted infrastructure deal teeters on the brink of oblivion. It seems that Pelosi is motivated by a desire to ram through a bloated bill packed with partisan agenda items.
Of course, it took significant compromise to advance the infrastructure bill through an evenly split Senate. Although the plan was expected to sail through the Democratic-controlled House, Pelosi’s ultimatum threatens that progress.
Nine moderate Democrats informed the speaker in a letter that they will not support the budget bill until there is a House vote on the infrastructure package.
In order to come out on top with a razor-thin advantage in the chamber, Pelosi will need near unanimity from her caucus — and even a handful of defections could represent the difference between success and failure for House Democrats.
“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed,” the group of moderate Democrats wrote. “We disagree.”
“Once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package”
The letter went on to argue that Congress “simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delays,” which could squander “this once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package.”
Lawmakers urged Pelosi to act, declaring: “We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.”
Further complicating matter, Pelosi has been petitioned by progressives in her caucus such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to demand the passage of the partisan reconciliation bill. Pelosi’s decision to side with the far-left appears to be a strategic mistake, however, since the $3.5 trillion package stands little chance of passing in the Senate.
Aside from the infighting among House Democrats, the Biden administration is also facing widespread criticism for its handling of a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Biden is in need of a legislative win ahead of next year’s midterm elections — but it appears that Pelosi’s posturing will make that all but impossible.