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Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending package in jeopardy, with Pelosi appearing short on votes

The House speaker is facing opposition from nine moderate Democrats, enough to keep the measure from passing.

Updated: August 23, 2021 - 11:04am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Washington Democrats' efforts to pass their signature, $3.5 trillion spending package is in jeopardy of falling apart, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrat-controlled chamber, does not appear to have the votes this week to advance the measure awaiting in the Senate. 

The votes are set to be cast Monday and Tuesday, with House members returning for two days during their August recess to try to move forward the pending package.

Pelosi can afford to lose only three votes in the narrowly divided chamber. However, nine moderate Democrats have vowed to oppose the two voting measures until the House passes a roughly $1 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure spend package passed in the Senate before the recess. 

They argue the House's first act must to secure a big victory for Americans by getting the bipartisan Senate bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature. 

Both votes this week are toward passing a budget resolution that would allow for passage of the $3.5 trillion bill, which includes money for the environment, safety net programs and other spending initiatives over the next decade. 

The first vote, on a so-called “rule,” to set up a final vote on the budget resolution, is reportedly set for Monday night, with a floor vote set for Tuesday. Passage could result in final vote on the larger spending package by fall. No House Republicans are expected to vote yes.

"The House can’t afford to wait months or do anything to risk passing” the infrastructure bill, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the unofficial leader of the nine moderates, said Friday.

Pelosi in recent weeks and days has tried to strike a deal with the moderate while also pushing for their support.

The California Democrat told her conference in a letter over the weekend that passing the budget resolution this week was critical and that any delay threatens the timetable for delivering “the transformative vision that Democrats share,” according to the Associated Press.

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