Facing an embarrassing defeat at the hands of progressives in her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was forced to cancel a vote on a Senate-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday.
Democratic leadership failed to garner the support needed for passage after the party’s far-left flank vowed to block the measure until there is movement on a sweeping $3.5 trillion social spending bill.
The feud threatens two of President Biden’s top legislative priorities and has so far confounded party leaders, senior congressional staffers, and White House aides who have sought a solution.
Pelosi had insisted all week that the infrastructure legislation would come up for a vote Thursday. She had initially promised moderate members of her conference who supported that measure that it would be voted on by Sept. 27, but allowed the deadline to slide as she sought to placate progressives who wanted to vote on the larger bill first.
Jayapal told reporters that she believed Manchin’s statement had galvanized more progressives to vote against the infrastructure bill — which Manchin played a key role in negotiating — and insisted that her bloc had the votes to bring down the measure,
House progressives been encouraged in their intransigence by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who told reporters that he did not see an agreement on the final form of the social spending bill coming together by Thursday evening and cautioned that progressives would lose leverage if the infrastructure bill was passed first.
“What deal, what deal?” Sanders asked. “We do not know what the deal is. If it’s a $10 trillion deal I will sign off on it.”
House Democratic moderates are similarly incensed after Pelosi cut a deal with them in July to hold a vote on the infrastructure measure in exchange for their votes on a budget allowing Democrats to move forward with the $3.5 trillion plan — which they are attempting to pass without Republican support.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), the chair of the moderate-conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, threatened to withhold her vote on the reconciliation bill on Wednesday if the bipartisan bill did not come before the House, arguing that the delay had hindered her “trust” that leadership and progressives would negotiate with them in good faith.