Top House Dem confident infrastructure and reconciliation bills will pass despite intraparty battles

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on looming date for infrastructure vote: 'Six days is an eternity in this place'

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said Tuesday that he's confident Democrats will get both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and their $3.5 trillion spending bill passed despite massive disagreements between progressives and moderates. 

"We're going to get this done. We always do. Because at the end of the day, what motivates us, Democrats across the ideological spectrum, is delivering for the people," Jeffries, D-N.Y., said when asked about the unclear legislative path ahead for Democrats. "We embrace the idea that people have different ideas and perspectives but at the end of the day we always land at the highest common denominator."

Jeffries added that Democrats "are moving toward" voting on the infrastructure bill on Sep. 27, the deadline for the House to consider that legislation as per an agreement between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House moderate Democrats last month.

Moderates temporarily withheld their votes on the budget resolution that allowed Democrats to circumvent the Senate filibuster on the reconciliation bill to get assurances the infrastructure bill would be considered soon. 

U.S. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) participates in a news conference in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 9, 2021. Jeffries said he's confident congressional Democrats can pass all of President Biden's agenda despi (REUTERS/Erin Scott / Reuters)


But Jeffries' comments came just minutes after House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., doubled down on her members' promise to vote against the infrastructure bill if the reconciliation bill hasn't passed both the House and Senate. It's done neither so far, and it does not appear that's likely to happen by the next week. 

"We have been very clear that the two have to go together, and if that is not going to happen, we are not going to deliver only on a part of the president's agenda and leave out women and leave out childcare and paid leave and housing," Jayapal said. "We are still clear on our position that there are not going to be sufficient votes to bring up the infrastructure bill on its own. The two have to come together"

There's been some speculation that moderate House Republicans may help get the infrastructure bill over the finish line by voting for it in greater numbers than the progressives who may vote against it. But a centrist Republican member told Fox News Tuesday that moderate GOP members "are disgusted with how terrible and broken and partisan this process has been."

"Centrist Democrats have allowed the speaker to strangle bipartisanship. I'd be surprised if more than a handful of Republicans support anything at this point," the centrist Republican added. 


But Jeffries Tuesday made clear he thinks there's a path forward with just Democrat votes. 

"We can't count on House Republicans for anything save for a handful of patriots in other areas like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger," he said. "And we're not proceeding under the expectation that we need Republicans to get President Biden's agenda, which the American people support, over the finish line."

As for the fact that progressives say they won't back infrastructure until reconciliation passes – and moderates, especially in the Senate, are saying the exact opposite? 

"Failure is not an option, the votes will be there for both the bipartisan infrastructure agreement and the Build Back Better Act," Jeffries said. "Six days is an eternity in this place."

FOX Business' Kelly Phares contributed to this report.