Infrastructure setback frustrates Democrats approaching victory in social spending package

House Democrats falling short yet again on the leadership’s publicly set goal of passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill frustrates party members who see it as undermining the real progress they have made in President BidenJoe Biden Overnight Energy & Environment – American Clean Power – Supreme Court to Review Power Plant Rule Case Harris Makes Final Pitch for McAuliffe Overnight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Toddlers One Step Closer to Vaccine MOREthe agenda.

Democrats across the spectrum hailed the framework for the $ 1.75 trillion social spending package that the White House released Thursday as a major step forward. Hours later, the inability of Democratic House leaders to get progressives to unite with a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill overshadowed any semblance of unity.

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal Democrats Seek Adjustments Under .75T Progressives See Infrastructure Vote Next Week The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By Facebook – Biden Doesn’t Get What He Wants Before Next Week’s Election MORE (D-Wash.), Leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said it should have been clear to Democratic leaders that many in their nearly 100-member caucus would not be willing to back the bipartisan infrastructure bill without at least one text. Legislative firm for the social spending package.

He also argued that creating another “arbitrary timeline” – that Democratic leaders have advocated as a way of pressuring negotiators to reach an agreement, it was not helpful.

“This is what we always said. Don’t rush this. And we try to tell people that. Don’t rush this. Don’t put another arbitrary timeline here. Give us the text and let us finish it. Let’s make sure everyone is on board and we will pass both bills together, “Jayapal said on CNN’s” The Situation Room. “

Jayapal praised progress on the framework, noting that some of the legislative text is already public.

“We have the text and I really think it will be quick for us to pass these two bills in the House,” he said.

But repeated failures to meet self-imposed deadlines are turning out to be embarrassing setbacks for Democratic leaders and exacerbating tensions between centrists and progressives.

“The fact is, we had this framework together. And not trusting the President of the United States and the Speaker says a lot about the people who decided that their own agenda was more important than our joint work, ”said Rep. Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel Costa Progressives win again: no vote on infrastructure Thursday Biden leaves meeting saying ‘never mind’ when bill passes LIVE COVERAGE: Biden tries to unify divided House MORE (D-Calif.), A centrist who has been pushing for months for the House to vote quickly on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“It wasn’t a good day,” Costa said.

When asked if the events of the day hurt Biden, Costa replied, “It doesn’t help him.”

Thursday’s scene was similar to the one that unfolded a month ago. Spokesman Nancy pelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Young Children One Step Closer to Vaccine Progressives See Infrastructure Vote Next Week On The Money – Big Business Wins in Build Back Better MORE (D-Calif.) He originally pledged with a group of moderates in August that the House would accept the bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27.

That date was pushed back to September 30 and then pushed back to October 1 as progressives were adamant that they would not vote in favor without clear guarantees for the other bill. The House ended up passing a short-term extension of federal highway programs that expired Oct. 1 in place of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, just as it did on Thursday.

Pelosi then pushed for a vote Thursday on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the Senate passed in August, during a rare Democratic caucus meeting with Biden.

Democratic leaders had set a goal Thursday in the bipartisan infrastructure bill for three reasons: to give Biden a legislative victory when he left for Europe to meet with world leaders on climate change, to push Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey and renew federal highway programs. that were scheduled to expire on Sunday.

Pelosi told Democrats that “when the president gets off that plane we want him to have a vote of confidence from this Congress.”

Biden also told Democrats that it was imperative to enact his agenda not only to achieve a victory for his party, but to show on an existential level that American democracy can still work. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens next week,” he said.

However, progressives argued that their refusal to endorse the bipartisan infrastructure bill before the social spending package is completed is better for Biden’s long-term agenda.

“The problem is that we do not have an agreement to make the agenda. Once we have an agreement to make the agenda, we will all vote in favor and the president will have his victory, ”said Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez Defends Climate Provisions In Spending Bill: ‘I Have To Live In This Future’ Progressives Fight To Save Top Priorities From Omar Logging Attacked By Suspicious Substance Considered Non-Hazardous MORE (D-Minn.), The Progressive Caucus’s top vote counter.

While the framework served as a marker of the progress of months-long negotiations on the social spending package, Democrats say the provisions are not yet final. Some liberals are pushing to restore key priorities left out, such as paid family and medical leave and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

But in a show of the expansive nature of the provisions found in the framework, the Progressive Caucus issued a formal endorsement in principle. The legislation includes some important transformations of the social safety net, including universal preschool, capping families’ child care costs to no more than 7 percent of their income if they earn up to 250 percent of the state median income. , and a one-year renewal of the child tax credit.

And while it doesn’t go as far as expanding Medicare coverage to include dental and vision services, it does establish benefits for hearing-related costs.

Despite the delays and setbacks inherent in making legislative hot dogs, other Democrats argue that they will ultimately be rewarded if they can sign the framework’s policies into law.

Representative Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), A Progressive Caucus member who lobbied hard for child care provisions, called them “truly transformative” in a way that will directly help working families.

“I’ll be honest, when I come home, when talking to my constituents, none of them are following the complexities of the day to day,” Jacobs said. “But they will feel the impact of this Build Back Better framework when we do. And I think that’s what matters most. ”

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