Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the House back into session from August recess to consider a late-night Monday vote. While the vote was dressed up as a procedural matter on House rules, it was, in fact, a tactical move that could steamroll or derail a significant portion of the Biden administration’s big spending package.
The Hill reported that Pelosi’s rule contained language that deems the Democratic $3.5 trillion budget plan as adopted. The plan would then be for Pelosi to deal with the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan already passed by the Senate with 69 affirmative votes.
The move by Pelosi was considered especially risky in that she could only afford to lose three Democrat votes, assuming that there would be zero Republican support.
Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told The Hill that calling the vote was like “throwing a bomb at the 11th hour.”
Pelosi’s strategy was likely the result of ten centrist Democrat representatives expressing a strong desire to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before taking up the budget spending measure.
Most progressive representatives have insisted on voting for the spending bill as a $3.5 trillion reconciliation measure first. That bill includes many costly spending programs vehemently opposed by Republicans, including free college, expanded child and health care, and multiple climate change programs.
The vote stalled out Monday night and was delayed until Tuesday afternoon. House Democrats voted to move the budget resolution forward after Pelosi made some concessions to the ten centrist representatives.
The ten moderate holdouts finally agreed to vote for the budget bill after Pelosi strongly committed to voting on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The rule as approved on Tuesday does deem the budget resolution approved, although no actual vote on the budget was held. It also established that a final House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill would be held by September 27 and set the final debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
The resolution passed 220-212 with no Republican votes, even though some Republican members have expressed support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.