Winners and Losers: The fallout from the Democrats' infrastructure fiasco

House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal ended the week with her reputation enhanced

Democrats, especially liberals, tout a lofty, ambitious agenda. But can you do that with nominal control of a 50/50 Senate and a three-vote margin in the House? You cannot alter the laws of Congressional physics. Democrats are trying to defy gravity somewhat to advance their agenda. But it hasn’t worked out yet.

And there some who gained and some who lost as Democrats floated back to earth.


Pramila Jayapal
House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., bolstered her bona fides BIG TIME this week. When it came to "the math," Jayapal demonstrated she had the votes to block the bipartisan infrastructure bill from forging ahead. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she doesn’t go to the floor and lose. Jayapal prevented Pelosi from putting the infrastructure bill on the floor – despite multiple promises from the speaker that the House would do infrastructure this week. Pelosi is one of the best vote counters to ever walk into the halls of the Capitol. But Jayapal tonight passed her first big test when it comes to holding enough votes to block the House on infrastructure. Moreover, Jayapal’s credibility rose when she conceded, pragmatically, that the $3.5 trillion figure likely had to drop. Watch to see where Jayapal rises in leadership ranks in the coming years.


Moderates achieved a victory. It is now clear that the price tag of the social spending plan must come down dramatically. That’s a win. But moderates never got a vote on the infrastructure bill, even though they forged an agreement with Pelosi to vote on the bill on Sept. 27.


Nancy Pelosi

This is one of the rare times that Pelosi hasn’t been able to deliver –  at least, not yet. Don’t count Pelosi out. Despite multiple "Dear Colleague" letters and positive, rosy-scenario statements, the House never passed infrastructure nor advanced the reconciliation package that Pelosi promised. Pelosi was always playing one of the worst hands she has ever been dealt. 


The bipartisan infrastructure bill is on ice for now. Does that bill now start to rot? Legislation can be like house guests and fish. It starts to smell if it sits out too long. Remember that the Senate passed the infrastructure bill in early August. President Biden announced the agreement in mid-June.


With today’s events, I suspect this all plays out as most other major issues do on Capitol Hill. Days and nights on end of battling around the holidays as lawmakers scramble to finish the Democratic agenda.