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Pelosi says House will vote on spending package despite liberals' concerns

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-09-24

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H ouse Democrats say they’ll try to pass the embattled infrastructure and social welfare spending package next week despite intraparty differences over the deal and little coordination with the Senate.

In a memo to fellow party lawmakers on Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House Budget Committee will convene on Saturday to advance a $3.5 trillion social welfare spending package that liberals are demanding the House pass ahead of a vote on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

Pelosi also pledged to take up the infrastructure bill, which would fulfill a promise to her centrist wing who sought passage of the measure by the end of September.

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The Democrats’ narrow House majority means she can afford to lose only a few lawmakers on any legislation unless House Republicans provide votes.

In the Friday memo, Pelosi thanked House Democrats for negotiating the terms of the spending package “in a time of intense dialogue,” adding, “That intensity continues as we move forward to pass two jobs bills next week: the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.”

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters he plans to announce the $3.5 trillion package is “a possibility for next week.”

House liberals immediately questioned the plan.

House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal told reporters in the Capitol the infrastructure bill will not pass because the $3.5 trillion package will not have passed both the House and the Senate.

“That bill cannot pass,” Jayapal said of the infrastructure bill.

She pledged half the Democratic caucus would vote against the infrastructure bill if it comes to the floor before the social welfare spending package is approved fully by Congress.

Even if the House passes the $3.5 trillion bill, “it’s not going to make any sense or give us any comfort to pass a bill” that has not passed the Senate, she said. “Without that, we have to keep working.”

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Senate Democrats can't agree on the social welfare spending package, jeopardizing its passage. Centrists Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona say they want to lower the cost of the $3.5 trillion package. Manchin has proposed postponing the measure until 2022, and Sinema and other Senate centrists oppose the tax increases.

On Thursday, Democrats announced an agreement on a "framework" for the tax increases that would be needed to pay for the bill, but only a few Senate Democrats knew anything about the alleged accord.

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