Standoff Looming Between Pelosi, Centrist House Dems Over Biden’s $3.5T Spending Plan

A standoff is looming between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democrat moderates in the chamber as House leadership moves ahead on President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion party-line spending plan, Politico reported Monday.

A key vote could come Tuesday, the news outlet reported.

Centrists led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., wants an immediate vote on the bipartisan, Senate-passed infrastructure bill; Pelosi wants to first pass the social spending plan through budget reconciliation, a process that could take months, Politico reported.

“If there’s some sort of way to work this out, then of course we’re working toward that. I’ve said that to leadership,” Gottheimer told Politico, adding centrists don’t want to “wait until December” for Biden’s infrastructure bill to pass.

According to Politico, Pelosi and her leadership team face their first test Monday, as the House returns to vote on the rule governing floor debate this week — and  set the debate boundaries for three bills: the infrastructure package, the budget framework needed to unlock reconciliation, and a voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

Pelosi only intends to bring the voting rights legislation and budget resolution to a final vote this week, angering moderates, Politico reported. She also released a letter over the weekend laying out a timeline for passing both the infrastructure bill and reconciliation package by Oct. 1. 

“Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share,” Pelosi wrote, casting votes coming up this week as a Biden loyalty test.

That group of nine moderates have privately said Pelosi’s letter did little to quell their fears about a delayed infrastructure vote — or of the caucus’ left wing holding the Senate deal hostage to secure their own demands for the bigger spending package, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has ruled out negotiating with Pelosi, Politico reported, insisting the bipartisan bill should considered on its own merits, and that she’s opposed to the social spending bill.

Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., both supported the budget resolution setting up a spending bill as large as $3.5 trillion but have declined to commit to supporting the final package. Manchin on Monday urged the House to “put politics aside” and vote on infrastructure “swiftly, Politico reported. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., also has pushed back at the $3.5 trillion plan, the news outlet reported.

Progressive groups led by Justice Democrats launched a six figure ad buy Monday targeting the nine centrist Democrats “sabotaging Biden’s agenda” — a direct counter to another set of ads from the centrist group No Labels hailing the “unbreakable nine.”

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