Pelosi and Biden Acquiesce to Party’s Right Wing With Infrastructure Bill Vote

The U.S. House on Friday night passed a bipartisan physical infrastructure bill but didn’t bring the Build Back Better Act to the floor — sending just one half of President Joe Biden’s two-pronged economic agenda to the White House, with only a pledge that conservative House Democrats will vote for the party’s broader social infrastructure and climate package at a later date.

That wasn’t the plan on Friday morning. Biden and Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker (D-Calif.), started the day. said they wanted House Democrats to pass both parts of the president’s legislative agenda: the Build Back Better Act (BBB), which would invest $1.75 trillion over 10 years to strengthen climate action and the welfare state; and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), a fossil fuel-friendly proposal to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, and ports that was approvedAugust by the U.S. Senate

Because of the intransigence a few right-wing House Democrats, who made last-minute arrangements demands for additional fiscal information that could take weeks to obtain, and the acquiescence of Pelosi and Biden, a planned floor vote on BBB was shelved and reduced to a “rule for consideration,” which was approvedIn a party-line vote between 221-213. BIF passedWith 13 House Republicans, the vote was 228-206 joiningMost Democrats support the measure.

Because it wasn’t accompanied by a real vote on BBB, six progressives — Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — voted against BIF.

“Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first,” Omar said in a statement, “risks leaving behind child care, paid leave, healthcare, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship.”

Progressives have been around for months. stressed — and Democratic leaders had agreed — that keeping both pieces of legislation linked and passing them in tandem was key to securing Biden’s entire agenda. Progressives supported holding a floor vote on BIF, and a simple procedural action for BBB. arguedFriday was a betrayal by the two-trackThis strategy allows right-wing party members to accept the passage of BIF as a way to further weaken or abandon the existing. heavily guttedBBB.

“We’re proud of the Squad for being courageous and standing up for what’s right tonight,” Varshini Prakash, executive director of Sunrise Movement, said in a statement. “It’s bullshit that President Biden and Speaker Pelosi rammed through a bill written by a bunch of corporations but feel fine to hold off on passing Biden’s own agenda, a popular bill that would actually combat climate change and help working people.”

“To be clear, the BIF is not a climate bill and the stakes of the climate crisis are too high to delay reconciliation any longer, or worse, let it die along with our futures,” added Prakash.

Mary Small, national advocacy director for the Indivisible Project, said in a statement that Bowman, Bush, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib “demonstrated enormous political courage in their continued fight to hold the line for passage of the Build Back Better Act.”

“They understand better than anyone what’s at stake with this game-changing package of investments in children and families and our climate,” Small added. “Their votes showed that, unlike the corporate Democrats dead-set on derailing the heart of President Biden’s agenda on behalf of their corporate donors, they know what it means to serve the people they represent.”

Even though revenue and spending analyses are conducted by the U.S. Treasury DepartmentThe White House, and the Joint Committee on TaxationBBB is a cost-effective option that may reduce deficits. small groupFriday, conservative House Democrats insistedBefore they vote for BBB, they will need to see a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

The razor-thin margins of Congress mean that Democrats can only afford three defections in Congress and none in the Senate to pass BBB through filibuster-proof budget reconciliation. It could take weeks for the CBO to score the score and there is no guarantee that holdouts will be satisfied. The results are notoriously unpredictable and arbitrary. according toExperts.

Ironically, the CBO determinedThe deficit increased by $256 billion due to the $550 billion BIF earlier this year. BIF supporters’ lack of concern about such a finding prompted critics to suggest that Friday’s request for a CBO score by several right-wing House Democrats, including Reps. Ed Case (Hawaii), Jared Golden (Maine), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), and Abigail Spanberger (Va.) was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to tank the more ambitious portion of Biden’s agenda.

Although those lawmakers’ constituents supportBBB has won large margins. The legislation was opposed by powerful corporate interests. lobbying blitz against the bill’s key provisionsThey poured obstructionist politicians with their support cash.

Pelosi follows the CBO curveball. proposedBIF was brought to the floor for a vote. A rule was passed to allow for future votes on BBB. Original source: The Congressional Progressive Caucus. rejected this plan, which deviated from the Democratic Party’s well-established strategy of enacting the two bills simultaneously.

CPC Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a Friday afternoon statement that “if our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time—after which point we can vote on both bills together.” Roughly 20 CPC members reportedlyJayapal told Jayapal in a closed-door meeting Friday afternoon that they would vote against BIF, if it was separated from BBB.

According toManu Raju, chief congressional reporter CNN, progressives were left wondering: “Why is Pelosi putting the infrastructure bill on [the] floor and daring them to vote against it when there are 20 or so who won’t support it tonight? Why not make Build Back Better? [the] floor and dare 6 moderates to vote against it?”

Over the course of several hour, conservative House Democrats, led By Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D.N.J.), negotiated a deal with the CPC, headed by Jayapal. behestBiden

CPC member Rep. Jared Huffman, (D-Calif.). told The Hill that Biden was urging progressives to vote for BIF as well as the rule for consideration of BBB, “subject to some assurances and commitments that he was working to get.”

Those “assurances and commitments” came in the form of a statement from Case, Gottheimer, Murphy, Rice, and Schrader, which said: “We commit to voting for the Build Back Better Act, in its current form other than technical changes, as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office—but in no event later than the week of November 15—consistent with the toplines for revenues and investments” projected by the White House.

The Intercept’s Ryan Grim argued that while “the focus is on progressives,” the few conservative lawmakers preventing both bills from passing on Friday were “doing it right in the open.”

Calling the corporate Democrats’ statement “foolishness,” former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner said that if they are committed to voting for BBB “no later than November 15, they can do it now.”

Other critics also raised questions about conservative Democrats’ endgame.

“A statement of support for BBB that is contingent on the CBO score could be more of an escape hatch… than a commitment to vote for BBB,” warned Adam Jentleson, a former congressional staffer and current executive director of the Battle Born Collective, a progressive communications firm.

While progressives are being told to trust the obstructionists, who “have promised to vote for BBB when the CBO score comes in and says what everybody says it will say,” Grim noted, he questioned These conservative Democrats refuse to accept credible budget estimates provided by the White House or other sources.