By Zachary Stieber
Nine Democrats in the House of Representatives on Thursday urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to quickly allow a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill before the lower chamber considers the larger, $3.5 trillion budget resolution.
The House should “immediately pass” the infrastructure legislation, they wrote to Pelosi.
“We urge our House colleagues to follow the same path as the Senate: vote first on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and then consider the budget resolution,” they said.
Senate Democrats got Republican support for the infrastructure legislation, but none for the budget framework, which they rammed through on Wednesday using a process called budget reconciliation.
Pelosi told reporters earlier this week that she will not allow a vote on the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation process is complete. The Senate advanced the resolution, but details of the budget have yet to be hammered out. The Senate would enter in details after the House passed the resolution.
“I’m not taking up that,” Pelosi said, referring to the infrastructure bill.
“I mean, people want me to take it up. ‘Oh, take it up.’ No. I think we were able to get support for the bigger package—the $3.5 trillion—because there was the other bipartisan package, I think we were able to get the bipartisan package, because [President Joe Biden] has the $3.5 trillion [piece]. So, they are, shall we say, compatible in my view,” she added. “So, we will—we are not—they passed it, but until we see the budget—it goes to the Senate first, then it comes to the House. And then, we send it back as a reconciliation.”
The nine Democrats, though, may scuttle the planned timeline. They’re threatening not to vote on the budget until infrastructure is signed by Biden.
“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,” they wrote.
Democrats have a 220–212 majority, meaning they can’t lose a block of nine votes and expect the budget resolution to pass without GOP support. Many House Republican members have signaled opposition to the proposal.
Pelosi’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Filemon Vela (D-Texas) signed the letter. They are considered moderates.
Pelosi is facing pressure from both sides of her caucus.
A majority of respondents to an internal Congressional Progressive Caucus survey said they would commit to not voting on the infrastructure deal until the Senate passes the budget legislation, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told Pelosi and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week.
“We therefore encourage you to continue coordinating closely between the two chambers, collaborating with the White House, and engaging with our caucus so that the reconciliation framework reflects our shared and longstanding investment priorities, and that the Senate first adopts this reconciliation package before House consideration of any bipartisan infrastructure legislation,” Jayapal, the chairwoman of the caucus, wrote in a letter.
The caucus has 96 members, including Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).