Progressives block infrastructure vote again, but endorse Biden reconciliation framework in massive compromise
Biden will go to his climate summit empty-handed, but his agenda inched one step closer to passing
The Congressional Progressive Caucus got the best of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Biden yet again Thursday after the pair pushed for a vote on the infrastructure bill before Biden's climate summit in the U.K. next week.
The caucus forced the House to put off a vote on the bill, after doing exactly the same thing last month.
The group and Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are demanding more progress on the passage of Democrats' reconciliation spending plan before they will let the bipartisan infrastructure bill pass. They say they don't trust that Senate moderates really support it.
"The reality is that while talks around the infrastructure bill lasted months in the Senate, there has only been serious discussion around the specifics of the larger Build Back Better Act in recent weeks, thanks to the Progressive Caucus holding the line and putting both parts of the agenda back on the table," Jayapal said in a Thursday statement.
PELOSI SAYS MOST PROGRESSIVES READY TO BACK INFRASTRUCTURE BILL
"Members of our Caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act. We will work immediately to finalize and pass both pieces of legislation through the House together," she added.
But Jayapal and her members also endorsed the framework for a reconciliation bill that President Biden released Thursday morning, which would cost $1.75 trillion.
$1.75 trillion is an exorbitant amount of money. But it's half of the $3.5 trillion progressives were pushing for at the beginning of the reconciliation process. And some progressives had their sights set even higher, on a bill that might cost $6 trillion or more.
BIDEN RECONCILIATION FRAMEWORK COSTS $1.75T, INCLUDES $1.995 TRILLION IN TAX HIKES, WHITE HOUSE SAYS
The price needed to drop because Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., as well as other moderates in the House and Senate, were concerned about spending too much money as the economy is coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Neither Sinema nor Manchin explicitly endorsed the Biden reconciliation framework yet. And Democrats admit that there is still a lot of work to do to turn the president's proposal into a final bill that will pass both the House and the Senate — any one senator, or just a handful of House members, can tank the whole endeavor.
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But with progressives' support for a plan that represents massive compromises on many of their biggest priorities, Democrats appear to be inching closer to a deal that could see both infrastructure and reconciliation pass in November.
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"The Congressional Progressive Caucus just overwhelmingly voted to endorse in principle the entire Build Back Better Act framework announced by President Biden today," Jayapal said Thursday.
"We are excited about the framework. We are excited about the progress that has been made," Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said.
FOX Business' Caroline McKee contributed to this report.