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House to Move on Infrastructure Bill, Spending Bill to Wait

November 5, 2021 by Dan McCue
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to lead Democrats in advancing President Joe Biden's $1.85 trillion-and-growing domestic policy package, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Bowing to resistance from House moderates, Speaker Nancy Pelosi this afternoon has evidently decided to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill while putting final vote on the budget reconciliation bill on hold.

The decision came after the House Democratic leadership allowed a vote on a Republican motion to adjourn to stay unresolved for more than seven hours as Pelosi met with moderate members of the caucus behind closed doors in search of a deal.

In the end, however, a half-dozen moderates refused to budge on their insistance that no vote on the reconciliation bill take place unless the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office provides its cost estimate for the measure.

Shortly after 3 p.m., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told members of the caucus that the chamber would begin debate within the hour of the reconciliation, a sweeping $1.75 trillion package of social and climate spending measures, but did not indicate when a final vote would occur.

He said a second vote, on the bipartisan infrastructure bills and the rule to consider it, would likely begin sometime after 4:30 p.m., the timing depending on further Republican efforts to stall the advancement of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

Moments later, Speaker Pelosi sent out a letter to the Democratic caucus, “to describe a path forward.”

“In order to make progress on the President’s vision it is important that we advance the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and the Build Back Better Act today,” she wrote.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework rule and debate have already happened. Now, we will bring to the Floor the BIF and a rule for consideration of the Build Back Better Act,” she continued, adding, “The agenda that we are advancing is transformative and historic, hence challenging.” 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, immediately rejected the plan, holding firm to the group’s stance that both bills move together.

Moments after that, House Republicans raised an unfunded mandate point of order against the rule providing for consideration of the reconciliation bill, which is also known as the Build Back Better Act.

If the infrastructure bill does ultimately pass sometime today or over the weekend, it would immediately be sent to the White House for Biden’s signature.

Whenever the reconciliation bill passes the House, it will be referred to the Senate, where significant changes are expected.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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