A coalition of moderate House Democrats s threatening to tank the $3.5 trillion budget plan unless Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees to first bring the bipartisan infrastructure deal to a vote on the chamber floor.
"Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months – until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree. 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 nine Democrats wrote in a letter.
The representatives who signed the letter are Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Jared Golden (D-Colo.), Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).
"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," wrote the group.
The move is considered a bold defiance of the progressive wing of the party's stated desire to move the budget reconciliation bill before addressing the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, a move for which Pelosi has signaled her approval.
The Democrats hold a slim majority in the House and nine dissenters are enough votes to upend the $3.5 trillion budget bill from passage. The resolution, which Republicans are expected to uniformly oppose, will in theory unlock the reconciliation process in the Senate, allowing the majority party to circumvent the legislative filibuster and pass the mammoth package without any Republican support.
Congressional Democrats have made it clear that they intend to stuff the several trillion dollar bill with Biden agenda policies and progressive initiatives that were cut from the bipartisan infrastructure package. However, given the razor thin margins in both chambers, Democrats will need the support of the party's moderates.
Meanwhile, far-left Democrats including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez have said they will not pass the bipartisan bill "if there is not a reconciliation bill in the House."
In two weeks, the House will return from summer recess several weeks ahead of schedule to begin work on the Democratic legislative and budgetary agenda.