House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted a partisan maneuver earlier this year by linking the Senate’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement with the House’s larger $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, preparing for a simultaneous vote on both bills.
That action has instead deepened rifts between moderates and progressives in her party, however, and Democratic leaders in both chambers are reportedly scrambling to clean up the mess they created.
According to Breitbart, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are navigating with multiple deadlines rapidly approaching and no signs of compromise on the forefront.
As for the infrastructure bill, it has been ready for a vote for some time. The costlier spending package, on the other hand, is nowhere near that point.
Meanwhile, Pelosi and Schumer are contending with the need for a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, not to mention a higher debt limit to accommodate their extravagant plans.
In its rundown of the situation, The New York Times reported that neither Pelosi nor Schumer have a margin for error in whipping their entire respective caucuses to unite behind the separate bills.
Doing so is proving to be nearly impossible, in large part due to scheduling and prioritization. The Democratic Party’s insistence on going it alone without any GOP input or support for the $3.5 trillion proposal is further complicating things.
Pelosi and Schumer are now essentially boxed in as time is running out. Barring a miraculous change of hearts or some serious arm-twisting behind closed doors, Democrats risk defeat on all counts upon putting the proposals up for a vote.
As Politico’s Playbook noted, there was no apparent sense of urgency as of Monday — from either Capitol Hill or the White House — despite the high stakes.
House progressives continue to push back against the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless their priorities in the reconciliation package are passed at the same time. Moderates, on the other hand, have balked at some of the spending items as well as the exorbitant spending and tax hikes they entail.
All eyes remain on Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), either of whom could sink the budget reconciliation bill in an evenly split Senate and have repeatedly expressed concerns over the price tag.
A vote on the infrastructure bill has been pushed back to Thursday, but the budget package is not yet fully drafted. It remains to be seen whether Pelosi and Schumer will remain trapped in the same web they spun to push through a progressive agenda despite GOP opposition.