Pelosi forced to abandon Friday vote on immense social spending bill amid resistance from moderates
Dems instead plan vote on the infrastructure bill and on the 'rule' for considering the social spending legislation, but that may backfire too
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved to save face with a procedural vote on Democrats' reconciliation bill Friday after an effort to pass it stalled yet again when a small group of moderates demanded the House wait for scores from the Congressional Budget Office.
But that plan, which includes a vote on the infrastructure bill as well, may also backfire on top Democrats due to progressive opposition to passing infrastructure without reconciliation.
Pelosi, D-Calif., and other top Democrats Thursday night and Friday morning had projected confidence that the House would pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill Friday.
President Biden even got in on the act, asking Hill Democrats "to vote 'yes' on both of these bills right now. Send the infrastructure bill to my desk. Send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate."
But a handful of moderates reiterated demands from earlier this week that the House should wait for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score the legislation. When those members appeared to dig in, business in the House ground to a halt, leading Democrats to leave open a vote on a motion to adjourn for more than seven hours while they figured out their next move.
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Shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced that move: Democrats will vote to pass a procedural rule bringing the reconciliation bill to the floor, and on then on the infrastructure bill itself.
The reconciliation bill us just under $2 trillion. The infrastructure bill is just over $1 trillion.
This move would theoretically allow Democrats to claim progress on reconciliation, despite that they are not doing anything substantive on the matter. And it lets them finally send the infrastructure bill the Senate passed back in August to Biden's desk.
"Today we’re going to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure, and we’re also going to vote on the rule for Build Back Better," Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said Friday as she pushed the plan party leaders ended up adopting.
Beatty said the plan would be a "great victory" and the move would represent "progress."
But House progressives immediately appeared to resist the plan.
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"As we’ve consistently said, there are dozens of our members who want to vote both bills — the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — out of the House together. We now understand that there are six Democratic members who want to have a formal CBO score on Build Back Better before voting," Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said in a statement.
She added: "owever, if our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together."
The statement did not explicitly say progressives will not vote for infrastructure bill under the new plan from Democratic leaders. But it showed significant skepticism. Progressives huddled for a caucus meeting at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
FOX Business' Chad Pergram and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.