A group of nine moderate House Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes from their party’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution later this month if Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doesn’t push the recently-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan through to President Biden’s desk.
“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,” wrote the group led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) in a Thursday letter obtained by Politico.
The group, which has been issuing veiled warnings for weeks, could upend the Democrats’ massive $3.5 trillion social spending package for which Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes in the House, which is slated for a vote when the House returns on August 23. Once passed by the House, Senate Democrats can move forward with the $3.5 trillion package using the filibuster-proof reconciliation process. And that‘s assuming they can convince moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to play ball.
Meanwhile, progressive House Democrats are flatly rejecting the idea of putting the infrastructure bill up for a vote before the $3.5T package, warning Pelosi that they have the votes to tank the Senate-passed bill.
That said, Pelosi is holding her ground on her promise of a two-track plan to push both packages in tandem.
The latest move from Gottheimer and the other Democratic centrists ups the ante for Pelosi and her leadership team, who so far have shown no willingness to budge on their two-track approach.
Pelosi reiterated her stance — emphasizing it was firm — on a private caucus call earlier this week, telling her member there was “consensus” in the caucus to not bring up the Senate infrastructure bill until the upper chamber had passed the more sweeping social spending plan.
In addition to Gottheimer, Democratic Reps. Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, all of Texas, as well as Reps. Ed Case of Hawaii, Jared Golden of Maine, Jim Costa of California, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia and Kurt Schrader of Oregon signed the letter. -Politico
The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this week, with 19 Republicans joining the Democrats to move it forward. It includes $550 billion in new spending, along with funding for roads, bridges and modernizing the electric grid and broadband internet.