House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and senior White House officials spoke Tuesday to discuss how to assure passage of President Joe Biden’s major infrastructure spending, Axios reported.
Pelosi, in California during the House summer recess, met virtually for 90 minutes with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, counselor Steve Ricchetti, and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell, Axios reported.
The Biden aides and Pelosi are seeking to present a unified front, the report said.
Moderate Democrats are frustrated over Pelosi’s insistence not to bring the $1.2 trillion Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that is being considered.
“You don’t have a combined birthday party and Christmas party, because they’re two different things,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., told Axios.
Progressives have threatened to kill the bipartisan infrastructure legislation unless it’s tied to the $3.5 trillion bill, which addresses issues that fall loosely under infrastructure.
Democrats plan to use the budget reconciliation process — avoiding a Republican Senate filibuster — to unilaterally pass the larger bill, which includes funding for issues such as child care, health care, and climate change.
Officials declined to offer Axios any details about what emerged from Tuesday’s Zoom call.
The House will return to work on Aug. 23, when it can begin holding procedural votes on infrastructure legislation as well as a voting rights bill, which also was discussed on the call, Axios reported.
Nine moderate House Democrats sent Pelosi a letter saying they won’t vote for the budget resolution unless the speaker lets the chamber vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan.
“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 Democrats said, CNN reported.
In their letter, the moderate Democrats said Biden had applauded passage of the infrastructure bill and wanted it on his desk as soon as possible.
Pelosi then sent lawmakers a letter suggesting that the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both the budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Democrat leaders hope that by forcing members to vote, as an initial step, on moving both measures forward together, the caucus moderates will be forced to join the progressives in pushing its economic and social agenda toward eventual passage.