Showdown: Pelosi challenges liberals to sink infrastructure bill

Spokesman Nancy pelosiNancy PelosiHouse sets Friday voting for Biden’s agenda House leaders make last minute drug price change after On The Money dispute – Presented by Citi – Pelosi Pressure Cooker MORE (D-Calif.) Friday intensified the tense standoff over President BidenJoe BidenHouse sets Friday’s voting for Biden’s agenda. House leaders make a last-minute change to drug prices after the dispute aide who traveled with Biden to Europe tests positive for COVID-19: inform MOREthe domestic agenda, challenging liberals in their own caucus to oppose a bipartisan infrastructure bill that languished in the House for months as negotiators bargained over a broader social spending package.

Progressistas, behind Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal Progressives Declare Victory In Struggle Over On The Money Spending Bill – Presented By Citi – Pelosi Plays Tough With Manchin Democrats Take On Manchin, Make New Push For Family Leave MORE (D-Wash.), They have blocked the infrastructure proposal for fear that the Senate centrists – Joe manchinJoe ManchinHouse Sets Friday Voting For Biden Agenda Progressives Declare Victory In Fight Against Haaland Spending Bill – Reconciliation Bill Will Pass But May ‘Take A Little Longer’ MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten Sinema Progressives Declare Victory in Fight Against Spending Law Assisted Living Providers Sound Alarm Over Lack of COVID-19 Help Manchin Says Democrats ‘Can’t Go Too Left’ MORE (D-Ariz.) – would reject the largest “family” benefits bill if the most popular public works bill had already made it to Biden’s desk.

In response, Pelosi has kept the infrastructure bill off the ground, even as she urged liberals to reconsider their objections to give the unpopular Biden a major legislative victory.

That is, until now.

On Friday, after hours of negotiations in which Pelosi failed to convince a handful of moderates to back the welfare package, the president abruptly announced that the infrastructure bill would be up for a vote along with the governing rule. the largest benefits package – but not that package itself.

The move was immediately criticized by liberals, and Jayapal quickly released a statement demanding that the two bills be moved together and suggesting it had enough lawmakers behind it to sink it.

“As we have constantly said, there are dozens of our members who want to vote on both bills, the Better Reconstruction Act and the Jobs and Investment in Infrastructure Act, together,” Jayapal said.

Pelosi didn’t blink. Shortly after, the Spokesperson organized a press conference, together with her top lieutenants: Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer Democratic Leaders Increase Pressure on Rejections of Biden’s Agenda Overnight Energy & Environment – Presented by The American Petroleum Institute – Biden Official Defends ‘Carrots’ Approach Democrats Embrace Manchin, Make Renewed Momentum for the family license MORE (D-Md.) And James Clyburn (DS.C.) – to say that he sticks to the plan to take the infrastructure proposal to the ground, while suggesting that he already got the support to pass it.

“I think there are a large number of progressive caucus members who will vote for the bill,” Pelosi said. “I have Speaker’s secret whip count.”

The comments amount to launching a high-stakes game of chicken: Pelosi says she has liberal votes to pass the infrastructure bill without the biggest package; Jayapal says he has the liberal votes to block it.

The bill is scheduled to hit the ground Friday night. And in a sign of how much is at stake, Biden called Jayapal Friday night to make his case for Pelosi’s plan.

Some liberals are already saying that they are ready to back that plan, even if it is not their preferred strategy.

“If this is how it ends, what am I going to do?” said Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a former head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The risk of doing nothing, for me, is deeper than the sequence.”

Rep. Ro khannaRohit (Ro) Khanna Oversight committee chairman quotes major oil companies There is no ‘metaverse’ where climate change does not exist The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Will Virginia’s election set the script for midterm elections ? PLUS (D-Calif.), Another prominent and close progressive ally of the Sen. Bernie sandersBernie SandersHouse Democrats Change SALT Provision in Spending Bill Big Tech Raffle at Build Back Better Will Hurt American Workers Democrats Call on Biden to Punish Climate Change Taxpayers MORE (I-Vt.), Who has urged against an independent infrastructure vote, also suggested an opening to vote for infrastructure.

“I’m open to giving leaders an audience,” he said.

Pelosi’s surprising move marks an abrupt turnaround for a president who has built a reputation for gaining support before voting in the room. She has said repeatedly throughout the debate over Biden’s agenda that she will not consider any bill that cannot be passed.

“I’ve never seen her bring something to the floor and challenge people to object. You?” asked a surprised Democratic aide.

The moderates who have been pushing for months for the independent infrastructure bill are applauding Pelosi’s decision to stage the vote on Friday, even if it fails.

“Let them vote no; let’s see it,” said Rep. Philemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaVicente González to Run in Different Texas Districts After Abbott Signs New Map Two House Democrats to Retire Ahead of Challenging Midterm Elections Two Senior House Democrats to Retire MORE (D-Texas). “If they want to vote ‘no’ against $ 1.2 billion in their own congressional district, let them go do it.”

Scott Wong contributed.

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