Moderate Democrats say infrastructure bill must be law before backing $3.5 trillion spending proposal
Nine moderate House Democrats have told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they won't consider backing a massive $3.5 trillion social spending bill until the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure passage becomes law, enough lawmakers to halt a key agenda item for Democrats and the Biden administration.
Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Filemon Vela, Jared Golden, Henry Cuellar, Vivicente Gonzales, Ed Case, Jim Costa and Kurt Schrader urged the immediate passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, saying they won't entertain the $3.5 trillion Democrats want to spend on social programs until the infrastructure bill is signed into law. Punchbowl News first reported on the letter to Pelosi.
"Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree," the nine members wrote. "With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can't afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package. It's time to get shovels in the ground and people to work. We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law."
Democrats have only a slim majority in the House, and with virtually no possibility of any Republicans backing the $3.5 trillion that Democrats want to spend on things like free community college and free universal preschool, Democrats need nearly every vote to pass the president's social agenda. Meanwhile, dozens of progressive Democrats in the House say they won't vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill without funding their social priorities first, creating an issue for Pelosi.
The House is set cut August recess short and return to Washington, D.C., later this month.
The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package would fund things like rural broadband, rail, roads, bridges and airports. It passed 69-30, with 19 Republicans voting for the proposal.
— Sara Cook contributed to this report.
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