Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her appearance on Sunday’s CNN broadcast of “State of the Union” that she has Democrats “close to reaching a deal” on Joe Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation “Build Back Better” bill. Although no one has seen a draft of the bill yet, she claimed that “90 percent” of the bill is “agreed to and written.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus and moderate Democrats have been clashing over the contents of the bill for months.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Pelosi if the bill would be agreed to before Joe Biden leaves to visit the Vatican on October 29. Pelosi responded by saying that she thinks Democrats are “pretty much there now,’ adding that it is “just the language of it.”
Pelosi admitted that the social spending programs initially planned for the bill would be cut back somewhat. Still, she insisted that the surviving parts of the bill will “bolster” Biden’s overall economic plan.
Tapper asked about the self-imposed deadlines for House floor votes for the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure and jobs bill that have been missed “because of the progressives.” The Senate has already passed that bill with 69 votes only to have the progressive caucus refuse to support it without part of a package including the budget reconciliation measure.
Pelosi quickly jumped to say that there “was no deadline that was missed because of the progressives,” claiming that the deadline was missed because “they” changed the discussion of the spending bill from $3.5 trillion to “one-half of that.”
She presumably referred to moderate House democrats and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Both Manchin and Sinema have objected to the proposed reconciliation spending bill’s size. Sinema has said that she will not support any tax increases that have been proposed as part of the package.
Democrats have five or fewer votes to spare in the House and cannot afford to lose a single vote in the Senate if there is any hope that Pelosi’s latest promise to deliver a deal will hold up.