Progressives Rebuff Pelosi on Plans for Infrastructure Vote
(Bloomberg) -- Progressives Democrats in the House aren’t satisfied that an emerging framework for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda gives them the details they need to clear the way for a vote on a $550 billion roads and bridges bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerged from a meeting with Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal hopeful that progressives would back the infrastructure package as the outline of a deal begins to emerge on the larger tax and spending package.
Jayapal, of Washington, said she doesn’t want a framework, she wants a bill. While progressives would welcome a verbal agreement on the tax and spending package by the end of the week, she said, there’s no chance that infrastructure would get a House vote based on that. She added dozens of progressives have the same stance.
“A mere framework is not enough,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said Tuesday. “We need to have a vote ready for the Build Back Better plan, not a framework. We want to have both of these votes together.”
Amid demands from moderates, Democrats are paring down an economic plan that was originally expected to have a price tag of $3.5 trillion. The new package will be worth less than $2 trillion. Jayapal indicated progressives were willing to make some compromises to get it passed.
“No one is drawing any red lines,” Jayapal said.
Pelosi said she hoped for votes on the package, named the Build Back Better Act, and the infrastructure bill this week that progressives have been holding out support for until a vote is held on the larger tax and spending plan. But with so many details still to be worked on on the larger plan, having legislation ready for a vote appeared unlikely.
However, when asked about Jayapal’s comment that a framework is not enough, Pelosi said, “Well, I think it is.”
Representative Cori Bush of Missouri replied in a tweet to Pelosi’s comments, “It’s not enough for me. And there are more of us.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.