Pelosi says most progressives ready to back infrastructure bill

The speaker delayed a planned vote amid pushback from the House Progressive Caucus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck an optimistic tone after she was forced to delay a planned vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday night, asserting in a letter to colleagues that most progressive lawmakers who opposed her timeline are still committed to backing the legislation.

"As you know by now, the House will postpone the vote on the [Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework]," Pelosi said in the letter. "The good news is that most Members who were not prepared for a yes vote today have expressed their commitment to support the BIF. I thank the overwhelming number of House Democrats who support both the BIF and the Build Back Better Act. It is both heartening and impressive to observe the strength of Members’ engagement in the discussion."

The vote was delayed amid pushback from the House Progressive Caucus. The far-left group said its members had "overwhelmingly voted to endorse" a scaled-back version of President Biden’s social spending bill but warned they would not vote to pass the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a finalized version of the spending bill was brought up at the same time.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP Newsroom)

The Caucus said the dual vote "cannot be accomplished without legislative text that can be fully assessed and agreed upon by all parties, including 218 Representatives and all 50 senators in the Democratic Caucus."

Pelosi noted the full text of the spending bill was available for review, adding that the House Budget Committee had released "a section-by-section analysis of the legislation."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks to reporters as she walks out of a House Democratic Progressive Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP Newsroom)

"Your feedback is welcome and necessary, soon, to assist the Rules Committee as it prepares the BBB legislation for Floor action," Pelosi added. "As you may recall, we are ready for the Floor vote on the BIF, because the debate on the rule and the bill have already occurred. Thank you for your leadership For The People."

While Pelosi and others have touted mounting support for both pieces of legislation, it remains unclear if Democratic leaders can garner enough votes to pass them. Moderate Senate holdouts Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema expressed support for the framework in principle, but they have yet to publicly endorse the "Build Back Better Act" for passage.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP Photo/Susan Walsh / AP Newsroom)

The fate of Biden’s signature legislative push could have major implications for the 2022 midterms, with a failure to reach a consensus likely to damage Democratic prospects in Congress. 


White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was "confident" both bills would soon be passed.

"Legislative text is starting to become public, and the road to passing both critical parts of the President’s plan to make our economy deliver for middle class families — not just the wealthy — is clearer than ever," Psaki said in a statement.