House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on Monday that passage of the $550 billion infrastructure bill must not wait for President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar safety net bill, saying the larger package is not yet ready for a vote.
In a private caucus meeting, Pelosi, D-Calif., said the party must “make difficult choices,” because the dynamics have changed and Democrats have not yet agreed to a spending level, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
“I told all of you that we wouldn’t go on to the [infrastructure bill until] we had the reconciliation bill passed by the Senate. We were right on schedule to do all of that, until 10 days ago, a week ago, when I heard the news that this number had to come down,” Pelosi said, according to the source. “It all changed, so our approach had to change.
“We had to accommodate the changes that were being necessitated. And we cannot be ready to say until the Senate passed the bill we can’t do BIF,” she said, using a shorthand for Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the source said. Progressive House Democrats have threatened to vote down the infrastructure bill if the vote is held Thursday before the mega-bill is completed.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, stuck by that position Monday evening after the meeting, saying House progressives are prepared to vote down the infrastructure bill Thursday.
“We need the reconciliation bill, and so this is a situation where the vast, vast, vast majority of Democrats want to get the president’s agenda done,” she said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “It can’t be a pinky promise, right, Rachel? It’s got to be an actual bill that is written, the legislative text is written, the numbers are agreed to, everything is agreed to.”
Biden spoke Monday with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The White House said the three leaders “agreed on the need to continue work on advancing the two pieces of legislation that represent the President’s vision.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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