Leading Democrats suddenly postponed Friday’s expected House vote on their $ 1.85 trillion 10-year social and environmental event as the struggle between the progressive and the moderate has once again distracted attention from President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.
In an attempt to give him the victory he needed, leaders were still willing to try to push a concomitant $ 1 trillion package of road and other infrastructure projects through the hall and to his desk. But even the fate of this popular bill, which aims to create jobs in every state, is in question.
Progressives have threatened to vote against him, continuing to demand that both bills vote together to pressure the moderates to support a broader, more ambitious social measure. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said that since Democrats could lose as little as three votes and win in a narrowly divided chamber, she will still move forward, saying she “feels pretty good” about the support.
Pelosi for years refused to vote on bills unless she had the near certainty that they would pass to avoid embarrassing defeats.
Sloppy plans have cast a new shadow over the party, which has spent weeks trying to take advantage of its control of the White House and Congress to advance its top priorities. This was difficult, in part due to the small majority of Democrats, as internal divisions forced House leaders to miss several voluntary voting deadlines due to unresolved internal divisions.
“Welcome to my world,” Pelosi told reporters.
Democratic leaders had hoped the House would approve both measures on Friday, a double triumph for the president and the party seeking to recover from this week’s failed inter-year elections and show they can rule. The party’s gubernatorial candidates were defeated in Virginia and broke through in New Jersey, two blue-prone states.
But those plans were dashed when, after hours of negotiation, half a dozen moderates insisted they would vote against a broad package of health, education, family and climate change initiatives unless the nonpartisan Congressional budget office first provided its cost estimate for the measure.
Democratic leaders said it would take days or more. Given Friday’s delay and lawmakers’ plans to leave the city for a week-long hiatus, this could mean the budget estimates will be ready by the time the vote takes place.
Adjusting the party’s schedule for the $ 1.85 trillion final action to reflect political reality, Pelosi said that once the CBO data is available, “we will have a Thanksgiving gift for the American people.”
In a letter to her colleagues announcing the new voting schedule, she wrote: “The program we are promoting is transformative and historic and therefore complex.”
The infrastructure measure passed easily through the Senate in August with bipartisan support, including backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Kayo. The package will provide huge sums for every state on highways, railways, public transport, broadband, airport, drinking water and wastewater treatment, power grids, ports and other projects.
But he became the key to a long struggle for leverage between progressive and moderate Democrats. Advocates of progress have said they will support the infrastructure law only if the two measures are jointly voted on.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington, who leads the 95-member Progressive Congressional faction, re-established the timeline on Friday, saying the non-partisan Joint White House-Congress Tax Committee provided lawmakers with all the financial information needed to pass the bill. …
“If six of our colleagues still want to wait for the CBO’s assessment, we will agree to give them that time – after that we can vote on both bills together,” she wrote. This strongly suggests that at least some progressives will vote Friday against the infrastructure bill.
Earlier Friday, Biden, meeting with reporters to tout the strong monthly employment report, said he was returning to the Oval Office “to make a few calls” to lawmakers. He said he would ask them to “vote on both of these bills right now.”
A larger Biden move by the House of Representatives would send her to the Senate, where she would face definite change and more democratic drama. This is mainly due to the demands of Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to limit the costs of this measure and limit or abandon some of its initiatives.
But House endorsement of a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure measure would send it straight to the White House, where Biden would surely have won.
Pelosi met late Thursday with Latin American lawmakers who wanted the broader measure to go as far as possible to help immigrants stay in the US. However, their prospects for bold action are limited by strict Senate rules. Democratic Party spokesman Adriano Espailat said Friday that they have discussed advancing the issue in other bills and see Pelosi as an ally.
Pelosi’s strategy seemed to be focused on passing the most robust social and climate law in her chamber, and then giving the Senate the opportunity to adjust or remove parts that its members would disagree with. In the latest amendments to the bill aimed at summing up the vote, the House Rules Committee approved amendments to state and county tax deductions, as well as other issues.
The bill is half the size of Biden’s original $ 3.5 trillion package, exceeds 2,100 pages, and enjoys the backing of progressive legislators, even though it is less than they wanted.
Republicans consider this measure too expensive and harmful to the economy.
This package will help a huge number of Americans pay for health care, parenting, and home-based care for the elderly. Prescription drug costs will come down as Medicare for the first time can negotiate lower prices for some drugs with pharmaceutical companies, a long-awaited priority for Democrats.
The package will provide approximately $ 555 billion in tax breaks, encouraging cleaner energy and electric vehicles. In recent days, Democrats have added key provisions by reinstating a new paid family leave and work permit program for immigrants.
Most of the cost of the package will be covered by higher taxes for wealthier Americans and large corporations.
Manchin has responded to a new family leave program, which is expected to provide four weeks of less paid leave than previously anticipated.
Senators are also likely to rule out the newly added immigration clause that would allow 7 million immigrants in the country without legal status to apply for up to two five-year work permits.