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A group of moderate House Democrats is circulating a letter asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a standalone vote and to provide more details on how the upcoming budget reconciliation package will affect the deficit and inflation.
“After years of waiting, the country cannot afford unnecessary delays to finally deliver on a physical infrastructure package,” the letter says.
“Separately, as we begin the reconciliation process, we have concerns about the specific components of that potential package,” it adds, asking specifically about revenue and spending levels. “These specifics are crucial, particularly given the combined threat of rising inflation, national debt, and the trillions recently, and appropriately, allocated to the COVID-19 emergency.”
The letter – being shared by top moderate Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Jared Golden, D-Maine., among others – underscores the difficult politics House Democrats face in coming weeks and months.
Moderate House Dems Letter … by Fox News
Pelosi, D-Calif., has said repeatedly that she will not hold a vote on the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a reconciliation package. House progressives, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are with her on that stance.
But the reconciliation package is no sure thing in either the House or Senate because the effort will have no GOP support. That means all Democrats must support it in the Senate and nearly all Democrats will have to back it in the House. If just a few of the moderates break with the rest of the party on reconciliation, Democrats are dead in the water.
Meanwhile, Gottheimer and Golden’s Problem Solvers Caucus is likely to deliver several Republican votes for the infrastructure bill. So Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of the “Squad” members could oppose the bill, if Pelosi allows a vote on it, and it could still pass with bipartisan support.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., speaking at a 2019 press conference sponsored by the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Common Sense Coalition. Gottheimer is one of the moderate House Democrats expressing concerns about massive spending in the upcoming reconciliation bill. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
“As soon as the Senate completes its work, we must bring this bipartisan infrastructure bill to the House floor for a standalone vote. This once-in-a-century investment deserves its own consideration, without regard to other legislation,” the moderates’ letter says of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. “We stand ready to enact bipartisan infrastructure legislation, and we hope to have your support in delivering this standalone bipartisan victory for the American people.”
The other Democrats currently supporting the letter are Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., Vincente González, D-Texas, Ed Case, D-Hawaii, and Filemon Vela, D-Texas. As of late Saturday is was still being shared with other members for their signatures.
President Biden has made clear that he wants both the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill to pass. The infrastructure bill would allow both the president and Congress to claim a bipartisan victory – despite some unusual provisions buried in it, including a mandate that all new cars track their drivers’ blood alcohol concentration and shut down if it is too high.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters just after the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the Obama-era health care law at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. Pelosi has said repeatedly that she will not bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote until the Senate passes a massive budget reconciliation package. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The reconciliation bill, meanwhile, is likely to include a Democratic wish list of government spending and programs and a laundry list of the president’s agenda items. Biden said earlier this summer that he would not sign the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill in hand before appearing to walk back that threat.
The White House was asked its current stance on that issue last week and did not express a preference, appearing to leave the timing up to congressional leaders.
Senators broke a filibuster on the bipartisan infrastructure bill late Sunday night, with 18 Republicans voting in the affirmative along with all 50 Democrats. It’s set to pass the chamber early this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
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