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House Leaders to Make Second Try at Budget Vote Tuesday

August 24, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., who joined other centerist Democrats Monday night in calling for an immediate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package passed in the Senate.

WASHINGTON — The House will reconvene at noon Tuesday to take a second stab at ending a stalemate with 10 centrist members over a $3.5 trillion budget framework. 

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and the other holdouts don’t necessarily oppose the budget package, but want to vote first on a bipartisan Senate-passed infrastructure bill. 

Speaking of the holdouts, their ranks actually grew from 9 to 10 last night when Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., publicly backed their position.

“The Senate passed a popular, bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiated by the President. It’s now before the House, but being unnecessarily delayed. I’ll vote to start reconciliation, but only if we finish our work on infrastructure,” she said both on Twitter and in an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

Negotiations between the House leadership and the centerists ended in the very early morning hours Tuesday when at least five of the latter refused to vote on a resolution that would have deemed the fiscal 2022 budget plan as having been adopted by the chamber.

The resolution — actually a vote on the rules for moving forward this week not only would have deemed the budget adopted, but would have also set the parameters for floor debate on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill and H.R. 4, otherwise known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Leaving the Capitol early this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., indicated discussion of all three pieces of legislation will resume when the House reconvenes.

She also explained that wouldn’t happen until noon because Democrats have a caucus meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. and a classified briefing on Afghanistan for House members at 10:30 a.m.

The extraordinary turn of events surrounding President Joe Biden’s signature economic recovery initiative came after the centerists refused to budge on their demand that the infrastructure measure be brought up for a vote first. 

Pelosi and Gottheimer, who has been leading the centrist opposition, reportedly discussed a potential compromise that would commit the House to passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Oct. 1, but several of the moderates balked at the fuzziness of the scheduling and held out for a date certain for the vote.

Asked about the potential compromise as she left the Capitol Tuesday morning, Pelosi refused to comment beyond a curt, “We’ll see tomorrow, won’t we.”

But in anticipation of a deal, the House Rules Committee has scheduled a meeting for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, presumably to tweak the rule it reported to the floor Monday evening.

Late Monday night Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern told reporters that there was “some additional language we’re looking at.”

The notice for Tuesday morning’s meeting says simply that the Committee is convening for “further consideration” of the budget bill, the voting rights advancement act and the Senate infrastructure bill.

Gottheimer told reporters Monday night that he and his centrist colleagues remain “very optimistic” that the impasse can be overcome, though he stressed, “we’re still working” toward a compromise.

The House is currently scheduled to wrap up its business and leave Washington Tuesday night.

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