The Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed the framework agreement for President Biden’s social spending bill on Thursday, even as they reiterated a warning that they would not back the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a final version of the "Build Back Better" package is brought up for a vote at the same time.
The group said its members "just overwhelmingly voted to endorse in principle the entire Build Back Better Act framework." The Caucus' statement called on Congress to "finish the job and bring both bills to a vote together," adding that all Democratic senators, including moderate holdouts Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, should first endorse a finalized bill.
"This 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," the Progressive Caucus said. "There is too much at stake for working families and our communities to settle for something that can be later misunderstood, amended, or abandoned altogether. That is why dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together.
"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," the statement added.
The statement of support marked a win for Biden and Democratic leaders who pressed progressives to accept a scaled-back version of the social spending plan. It was also a rebuke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is pushing the House to vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill now that Democrats released draft text for the "Build Back Better Act."
The framework agreement for Biden’s social spending bill outlines $1.75 trillion in spending over a 10-year period on social programs and climate action. The deal marked a significant departure from Biden’s original vision for $3 trillion in spending. Several progressive-backed programs were scaled-down or eliminated as part of negotiations with moderate Senators who balked at a higher price tag.
Biden touted the framework agreement as "historic," though it remains unclear if Democratic leaders can garner enough support to pass both bills.