Nine House Democrats are saying they won’t vote for their party’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead lets the chamber vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan approved this week by the Senate first.
“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,” the nine Democrat moderates said in a letter to Pelosi, reports CNN, after it was provided with the document.
The lawmakers’ threat could jeopardize Pelosi’s plans to push the budget resolution forward later this month, given that she can afford to lose just three votes from her caucus.
The letter was led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, who is the Democrats’ co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. The message was also signed by Reps. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Filemon Vela of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ed Case of Hawaii, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jim Costa of California, and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia.
The budget resolution, which was approved this week in the Senate, is seen as essential to President Joe Biden’s agenda. It must be adopted by the House before both chambers can advance it along straight party lines, as the Senate can’t filibuster it, reports CNN.
Pelosi, meanwhile, has said that her caucus had planned to hold up the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate approved the larger budget resolution, in a push to get moderate Democrats in the Senate to back the $3.5 trillion plan while easing House progressives concerned that the infrastructure bill wasn’t large enough.
“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree,” the Democrat lawmakers said in their letter to Pelosi. “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.”
The House is expected to vote on the budget resolution during the week of Aug. 23, while Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are instructing committee chairs to draft a larger bill, also known as reconciliation legislation, by Sept. 15, with a goal of enacting both bills in late September or early October.
The lawmakers’ letter came two days after Pelosi told her caucus on a private call that the House wouldn’t be voting on the infrastructure package, however, until the Senate passes the reconciliation bill.
House progressive Democrats have also threatened to withhold support on the infrastructure bill unless the Senate approves the reconciliation proposal.
The moderate Democrats, though, said in their letter that Biden has applauded the passage of the infrastructure bill and wants it on his desk as soon as possible, and said the “House of Representatives should heed his call and immediately pass the legislation.”