House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team Friday plan to put the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote, despite opposition from left-wing lawmakers, as well as a procedural rule for the Democrats' $1.75 trillion social spending bill.
"I believe that the votes today to pass the infrastructure bill and to provide for a path forward by adopting the rule for the Build Back Better legislation will be a giant step forward," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said shortly after announcing the plan.
"I am absolutely convinced beyond a doubt that before Thanksgiving, we will pass the Build Back Better legislation," he added.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and Pelosi, D-Calif., were also at the Friday presser where the top House Democrats presented a united front behind a "creative" plan Pelosi credited to members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Democrats abandoned efforts to pass the reconciliation bill Friday after resistance from moderates who wanted Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores before voting. Despite hours of talks, Pelosi was forced to try to save face by calling a vote on a procedural rule – which will only bring reconciliation to the floor, not pass it.
But shortly after announcing that plan, it was met with backlash from members of the left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), whose leader said both bills should be voted on together. That would happen at a later date under the current plan, suggested progressives will oppose the infrastructure bill Friday.
"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," CPC Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said in a statement.
She added: "However, 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."
Despite this apparent resistance from progressives, Pelosi said she is optimistic that the infrastructure bill will pass. But she would not guarantee it.
"I do believe that there are a large number of members of the progressive caucus who will vote for the bill," Pelosi said.
Asked more directly if she has the necessary votes to pass infrastructure, Pelosi responded: "We'll see."
There are expected to be a few Republicans who vote for the infrastructure bill, but it is not clear that the Republicans who favor that bill will outnumber the progressives who will vote against it.