In preparation for her difficult week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to House Democrats Sunday night telling them that the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate with the support of all Democrat and 19 Republican Senators would come before the House on Thursday for a vote.
On Sunday’s broadcast of “This Week” on ABC, Pelosi said that the House is “going to pass the bill this week.” She added that she is “never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.”
Pelosi also tried to maintain a confident tone on Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill, including many new social programs and climate spending measures. She promised that the House would pass that bill on a bipartisan basis but acknowledged that compromise would force the total spending proposed by the bill to come down. When asked if she believed the total spending contained in the larger bill would be lowered, she said it “seems self-evident.”
After his weekend vacation at Camp David, Biden was asked about the spending package and sounded less confident than Pelosi about the vote. He said that negotiations would take the better part of this week.
Democrats have only a tiny handful of votes they can lose in the House and no Senate votes if they expect to pass any spending bills without Republican support. Every public indication of the Republicans’ posture in the Senate is no support for the $3.5 trillion bills.
Pelosi’s primary challenge is coming from the most leftist House members. On Sunday, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), said on Twitter that the House would not pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill without also passing the massive spending plan.
The showdown approaching on Thursday is likely causing some significant discomfort for Pelosi. It may be pressing her to find a middle ground for the progressives and moderates before both spending bills founder.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, joined Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Katie Porter (D-CA) in an op-ed published by CNN on Monday that said the Progressive Caucus “will put our votes on the line” to ensure that the House only approves the bipartisan infrastructure bill along with the massive “Build Back Better” spending bill.
Pelosi has not yet set a definite date to bring the $3.5 trillion spending bill to the House floor for a final vote.