House Liberals are playing long-term.
Progressives who resisted their president in blocking a vote on infrastructure this week also lowered the bar to move an even bigger welfare package into the heart of Joe bidenJoe Biden Former lawmakers sign brief to counter Trump’s claims of executive privilege in January 6 probe Biden appoints Sara Minkara as special adviser to the US on international rights of persons with disabilities Fox poll shows that Youngkin leads McAuliffe by 8 points among likely voters MOREthe domestic policy agenda.
It’s a two-step dance that irritates party leaders in the short term, but at the same time paved the way for faster action on both proposals, perhaps as early as next week.
“I don’t think it will take that long,” rep. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal On the money: Progressives sign as Biden rushes to reach an agreement House extends funding for highways through Dec. 3 amid delayed infrastructure vote Progressives win again: No infrastructure vote this night MORE (D-Wash.), Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said as lawmakers headed home this week without a deal.
The timeline will depend on the resolution of a series of pending issues still under negotiation within the “family” benefits package, as well as the wording of the legislative language that reflects those pending decisions. But with much of the text already out, and with the Progressive Caucus already backing that legislative framework, liberals say both bills could be in the room in a matter of days.
“We have the text; that’s what we needed, ”said Jayapal.
“I am renewed with optimism,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), A fellow progressive who leads the Joint Economic Committee, which makes recommendations on how to improve America’s economy. Beyer told The Hill on Friday that he expects the House to vote on a package, likely the infrastructure bill, on Tuesday, and then accept the $ 1.75 trillion social and climate spending package later in the week. .
“I feel great about next week,” added a third House progressive, who like Jayapal, had stood firm in opposing the infrastructure bill.
The outburst of optimism follows shortly after an embarrassing setback for Biden and Democratic leaders, who rushed to organize a vote Thursday on a popular $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which was approved by the Senate in August.
Biden had visited the Capitol Thursday morning to mobilize House Democrats behind both sides of his two-pronged economic agenda, touting a just released “framework” governing the 1.75 social spending piece. billions of dollars. And speaker Nancy pelosiNancy Pelosi Legislators Discuss Potential Compromise to Revive Drug Pricing Measure On The Money – Progressives Sign as Biden Rushes to Settlement Overnight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Drug Pricing Outside of Biden Framework, at least for the moment MORE (D-Calif.) He urged lawmakers to support the infrastructure bill in a vote he hoped to take later that day.
Jayapal had led the successful opposition to that plan, speaking on behalf of a host of liberals who want deeper assurances that the larger “family” benefits bill doesn’t just pass approval, in terms of specific policies. But he also has enough support from the Senate to get to Biden’s desk. . Only then will they back the bipartisan infrastructure bill, informally known as the BIF.
“If we vote for the BIF, I think that’s it. I think we lose the other bill,” said Rep. Juan VargasJuan C. Vargas Liberals challenge Pelosi, say they will block infrastructure bill First Senator formally backs Bass in Los Angeles mayoral race Bass receives backing from EMILY’s List MORE (D-Calif.). “I don’t trust what the senators are going to do.”
At the same time, progressives rolled back their political demands and lowered the tactical threshold to win their votes in infrastructure. While top liberals had initially insisted that their votes would hinge on Senate approval of the largest benefits package, now some say a spoken compromise from Senate centrists: Joe manchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment – Presented by American Clean Power – Big Oil Day in Congress on Money – Progressives sign as Biden races to settle Hillicon Valley – Facebook launches rebranding campaign MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten Sinema Legislators Discuss Potential Commitment to Revive Drug Price Measure Healthcare Overnight – Presented by Altria – Drug prices outside of Biden’s framework, at least for now Progressives win again: No vote infrastructure tonight MORE (D-Ariz.) – would be enough to win their endorsement.
“I trust Biden,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.). “But the other two senators have not said they would vote in favor.”
Rep. Veronica escobarVerónica Escobar Progressives Win Again: No Infrastructure Vote Tonight Lack of Trust Destroys Democratic Efforts to Reach a We Can and Will Meet the Climate Test in the Better Reconstruction Act MORE (D-Texas), a Progressive Caucus deputy whip who had openly opposed a public and private infrastructure vote at the meetings, agreed with Vargas. She said she was prepared to change her mind and vote “yes” on infrastructure on Thursday if she had received stronger assurances from Manchin and Sinema that they agree with the framework.
“We need a compromise in the frame,” Escobar told The Hill. “If I had heard or received news of a firm commitment directly from the two senators who have been at the center of these negotiations, sending a statement saying they support it, it would have been a different ball game.”
Biden “has the full support of the Progressive Caucus for his framework; we vote to [endorse] the frame … ”he added. “He doesn’t see us arguing about the frame; you only see us [debating] the strategy to do it. ”
For others, the threshold is even lower. Jayapal said he would take Biden’s word that the benefits package can win 50 votes in the Senate, even without a public statement of support from Manchin and Sinema.
“We will accept the two bills in the House, passage, and we will withdraw from the original request… that we had for the Senate to pass. We will trust the president in the Senate vote. And we are going to trust our colleagues in the Senate, all of them, all 50, in the Senate vote, “he said.
“But we need the text and we need a vote on both bills in the House at the same time.”
The liberals’ blocking tactics forced Biden to board a plane to Europe on Thursday without the big legislative victory he hoped to achieve. And they were hit by many other Democrats, including several veteran lawmakers, who accused progressives of misunderstanding the political importance of giving the unpopular president an immediate victory. Some of the critics attributed it simply to inexperience.
“They have never been in the minority,” complained a veteran lawmaker as the House went into recess on Thursday night.
However, liberals say their counterintuitive strategy, expedition by delay, will actually pay dividends for Biden and the Democrats in the long run, by ensuring that some of the party’s older political priorities are included in the final version of the social spending package. . If they lost an infrastructure battle on Thursday, they argue, it was only to win the biggest war with the centrists over what will become the biggest benefits bill.
“The stakes are high for working families and our communities to settle for something that can then be misinterpreted, amended or completely abandoned,” Jayapal said.
As part of their research, progressives are also in talks with the White House to clarify the details of certain parts of Biden’s framework, particularly on the climate issue. That includes detailed information on carbon emissions modeling, “just to make sure the carbon emissions reductions are real,” Jayapal said.
Progressive lawmakers said they did not begin to learn details of what was inside or outside the Build Back Better package until they implemented tough tactics and blocked the infrastructure package. With that knowledge, they could devise a better game plan to fight for specific policies that were a deal breaker for the left.
When progressives demanded legislation this week, Pelosi and her leadership team produced 1,684 pages of the Build Back Better bill on Thursday.
“Now we have text. Now we know what it contains. We have a dollar figure, ”said Rep. Gerry connollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyDem expects infrastructure vote to hit brick wall Biden fights to slow down in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns Trump company late in talks to sell hotel in DC: report MORE (D-Va.). “We have practically an agreed framework on how to proceed.”
“I think the deal is done,” added Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart Lowenthal Progressives Win Again: No Infrastructure Vote Tonight Pelosi Pledges To Bring Infrastructure To A Vote Thursday Bans On New Offshore Drilling Must Stay In Better Reconstruction Act MORE (D-Calif.). “We are waiting to see the final language to make sure no one gets screwed up.”