Pelosi Compromise Proposal on Budget, Infrastructure Falls Flat With Moderates

Pelosi Compromise Proposal on Budget, Infrastructure Falls Flat With Moderates

Reuters/Erin Scott

Nancy Pelosi is in a predicament. She’s being squeezed on one side by moderate Democrats pressing for a quick stand-alone vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and on the other side by progressives who insist they’ll only vote for that legislation if it’s accompanied by a larger reconciliation package focused on social, health care and environmental programs.

Pelosi on Sunday proposed a way out of the intraparty standoff. In a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow Democrats, Pelosi said she had asked the House Rules Committee to “explore the possibility of a rule that advances both the budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure package.” That compromise wouldn’t alter Pelosi’s long-standing strategy of keeping the infrastructure bill on hold until the Senate passes the reconciliation package, but it would set up a procedural vote on the infrastructure bill and link the two tracks Democrats have been pursuing.

Pelosi’s compromise proposal fell flat with moderates. The nine Democrats who last week threatened to withhold their support for the budget blueprint unless the House first votes on the infrastructure bill released their own letter Sunday night rejecting Pelosi’s compromise. “While we appreciate the forward procedural movement on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, our view remains consistent: We should vote first on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework without delay and then move to immediate consideration of the budget resolution,” they said. “We simply cannot afford any delays.”

The bottom line: Democrats’ intraparty divide hasn’t closed. House Democrats reportedly have a call scheduled for Tuesday at noon to try to address their differences. Pelosi is still aiming to pass the budget resolution next week, but she can’t afford to lose more than three votes from her members given that Republicans are expected to stay united in opposition to the $3.5 trillion budget framework.