House Democrats Still Stuck in Stalemate over Spending Plans

POLITICS & POLICY
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, (D-WA) speaks during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on “Online Platforms and Market Power” on Capitol Hill, July 29, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via Reuters)

Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, leader of the House Progressive Caucus, emerged from a 90-minute meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday evening to tell reporters she’s certain that progressives have enough votes to kill the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill if it comes up for a vote in the House on Monday, September 27.

Pelosi has promised Democratic moderates that the House will consider the $550 billion bill by September 27, but Jayapal says that “more than half” of the 96-member progressive caucus will vote against the infrastructure bill if it comes to the floor before Senate Democrats pass a multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill. 

“We made it clear that our vote is contingent. Our vote for the [bipartisan infrastructure bill] has to happen in tandem with or after the reconciliation bill,” Jayapal said Tuesday evening. 

There’s no chance the Senate will pass a reconciliation bill by Monday, and there don’t appear to be anywhere close to enough House Republicans to make up for 48 or more Democratic defections.

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Therefore, Jayapal believes Pelosi won’t put the bipartisan bill up for a vote on Monday: “Have you seen the speaker bring a bill up that’s going to fail?”

But Democratic congressman Josh Gottheimer, the moderate who negotiated the deal to consider the bipartisan bill by September 27, remains convinced it will pass by that date. 

“Try us,” Jayapal said when asked about those who believe progressives are bluffing about voting down the infrastructure bill. “I got more than half of the [progressive] caucus who feel very strongly we’re going to deliver the entirety of the president’s agenda.”

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