Thursday, August 18

Pelosi delays vote on infrastructure plan


(CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled against bringing a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill to plenary on Thursday night, according to an aide, after progressives rebelled, which could delay consideration until Democrats agree on a much broader social safety net and climate legislation.

Pelosi’s decision came after hours of intense negotiations, including a call with President Joe Biden and a flurry of meetings and calls with members of the House of Representatives Democratic group. The delay puts the president beyond her second self-imposed deadline to hold a vote on the plan after postponing the vote that was originally scheduled for Monday.

Negotiations were expected to resume on Friday, which White House press secretary Jen Psaki alluded to in a statement Thursday night thanking Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck. Schumer, for your efforts.

“Much progress has been made this week and we are closer than ever to an agreement,” Psaki wrote. “But we haven’t got there yet, so we’ll need some extra time to finish the job, starting first thing tomorrow morning.”

Liberal Democrats were confident this week they had the numbers to block the bill, which would spend hundreds of billions of dollars on improving roads, bridges, transit, railroads, broadband, airports, ports and waterways.

They hope their tough tactics will push moderates to support their top priority: a $ 3.5 trillion bill known as the Build Back Better Act. That legislation would expand the child tax credit and Medicare’s ability to cover vision, hearing, and dental care, fund community colleges and universal pre-kindergarten initiatives, combat climate change, and fund senior care and programs. paid leave. The $ 3.5 trillion bill would be paid, at least in part, through tax increases primarily on corporations and the wealthy.

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN that the infrastructure deal should be “defeated” and criticized Pelosi’s effort to reach an agreement late at night.

“It’s an absurd way to do business, negotiating a multi-trillion dollar bill a few minutes before a major vote with virtually no one knowing what’s going on,” Sanders said. “That’s unacceptable. And I think what has to happen is that tonight, the bipartisan infrastructure bill must be defeated. And we can sit down and find a way to pass both laws.”

Pelosi’s effort to pass the infrastructure bill is complicated by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who said Thursday he would support a much smaller $ 1.5 trillion bill that expands the social safety net. , and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The two Senate moderate Democrats met for about 45 minutes Thursday night as they tried to find a way forward on both the infrastructure and Build Back Better plans.

With a divided Senate and little control in the House, Democrats are harnessing their power to make sure their colleagues support their bills, which comprise Biden’s national agenda.

Progressives say they will retain their support for the bipartisan infrastructure package until moderates reach an agreement with them on Build Back Better. Washington State Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told CNN she was not worried about her liberal colleagues breaking ranks.

“I have never seen our group so strong,” Jayapal said. “And I’m also a good vote accountant, maybe not as good as Nancy Pelosi sometimes, but I’m excellent.”

But at least a dozen House Republicans are expected to vote for the roads and bridges bill, allowing Pelosi to lose some members on her left flank.

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A source told CNN that Pelosi was successful Thursday by putting some Democrats in the “yes” column.

“The number (of votes for no) is going down,” the source said.

New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, co-chair of the bipartisan problem-solving caucus, touted that he and Pelosi were whipping Democrats on the court.

“She is doing it,” he said early Thursday. “It’s the magic of Pelosi.”

Following the announcement that the vote had been postponed, Gottheimer tweeted: “It’s not over yet!”

“This is just a long legislative day; we are literally not adjourning,” he wrote, referring to the House not fully waking up and is scheduled to reconvene at 9:30 am ET on Friday. “Negotiations are still ongoing and we are still working. Like I said before: buy Gatorade and Red Bull.”

CNN’s Manu Raju, Ryan Nobles, Jessica Dean, Lauren Fox, Annie Grayer, and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.


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