UPDATED 10:37 AM PT – Thursday, September 30, 2021
In-fighting within the Democrat Party may spell the end for Joe Biden’s ambitious infrastructure spending plan. The vote regarding the smaller bipartisan bill is set to take place in the House on Thursday.
The $1.2 trillion bill was originally crafted in the Senate by 10 Democrats and Republicans before making its way to the House. Rumors swirled last week that House progressives were unwilling to vote for the bipartisan bill. Their support lies primarily behind a $3.5 trillion bill also nominally for infrastructure.
The legislation is dubbed the reconciliation bill due to the need for budget reconciliation in order to pass the bill without bipartisan support. Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) enthusiastically announced a “framework” to unify her party and pass both both bills.
“We have consensus in overwhelmingly maybe 10 to one, 20 to one in our caucus, as to these priorities,” she stated. “A higher percentage in the Senate.”
However, prominent progressive caucus member Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) announced Wednesday to reserve votes for the bipartisan bill until the larger reconciliation bill is passed in the Senate. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has voiced solidarity with his House counterparts to stall the smaller bill.
We remain fully committed to passing President Biden’s entire Build Back Better agenda and delivering transformative change.
It is what we promised voters when they delivered us the House, Senate, and White House — one supported by 96 percent of the Democratic Caucus. pic.twitter.com/Lt2IMAwEfi
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) September 30, 2021
This has proved to be difficult for Senate Democrats as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has repeatedly pledged not to vote for the $3.5 trillion package. Fellow centrist Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has proven to be another boon to the reconciliation bill, withholding her stance despite multiple meetings with the Biden administration.
Despite this standoff between moderates and progressives, Biden remains hopeful the entirety of the Build Back Better agenda will be passed.
“Well, it may not be by the end of the week…but as long as we’re still alive, we’ve got three things to do: the debt ceiling, continuing resolution and the two pieces of legislation,” Biden stated. “If we do that the country is going to be in great shape.”
The progressive caucus votes will be the most watched on the House floor Thursday as the fate of a two part package may lie in their hands.