Pelosi schedules reconciliation hearing without bill text, or even framework

Pelosi schedules hearing on bill that doesn't exist, progressives poised to tank infrastructure

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday instructed the House Rules Committee to hold a hearing on Democrats' massive reconciliation spending bill, as Democrats struggle to come to an agreement on the bill but still hope to vote on it this week. 

"As we have insisted, we are close to agreement on the priorities and the topline of the legislation, which can and must pass the House and Senate," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to fellow Democrats. "At the same time, we are facing a crucial deadline for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass."

"I have asked the Rules Committee to hold a hearing tomorrow, October 28, to advance this spectacular agenda For The People," she added, regarding the reconciliation bill. 

Fox News is told the Rules Committee will meet at 12 p.m. for the hearing. But Pelosi does not say the hearing is a "meeting" to "markup" the rule that would bring the bill to the House floor. Bills must go through such Rules Committee meetings before an eventual vote, so a "hearing" appears to project the image Democrats are close to finalizing the bill.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Friday, August 6, 2021. Pelosi Wednesday ordered the House Rules Committee to hold a hearing on Democrats' reconciliation bill, despite ((Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) / Getty Images)


But the bill isn't written. And there's not even an agreement on what it will look like. 

"If we had a deal, as you know, we would be telling you about it," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. 

"I don’t think everything has been resolved," a senior source told Fox News. 

The text of it is not expected to be completed by committees until at least late Thursday afternoon – meaning the rules panel will be holding a hearing on a bill that does not yet exist. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Psaki said Wednesday that Democrats do not have an agreement on reconciliation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Associated Press)

But one source told Fox News the goal behind Pelosi's ploy is to force the issue on both the reconciliation bill and the infrastructure bill, which top Democrats still hope to pass this week before President Biden goes to a climate summit in Scotland. 

"Things are looking positive," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said. He speculated that President Biden may come to Capitol Hill to close the deal. 


Pelosi said in her letter that in order to meet the "crucial deadline" – the end of the month – to pass the infrastructure bill, Democrats "must have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act."

But such an agreement doesn't yet exist. It's not clear one is possible by noon Thursday, the end of the day Thursday, the end of the week, or the end of the month

And even if a deal were struck, without legislative text or a vote on the reconciliation bill, progressives still say they will torpedo the infrastructure bill. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., participates in the news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Jayapal said she will not vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill without a vote on the Democrats' reconciliation bill. (Photo by Bill (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Not sure if she really thinks she can will this thing through, but the votes are not there," a progressive aide said. 


"It's not really about the sequencing. It's about voting both of them on the same day," Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said Tuesday. "So, in other words, what I don't want is a framework."

"As we have insisted, we are close to agreement on the priorities and the topline," on reconciliation, Pelosi said in her letter. 

Democrats were insisting this last month, too. 

FOX Business Caroline McKee, Chad Pergram and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.