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Jayapal: Half of House Progressive Caucus would vote against bipartisan infrastructure bill alone

House Progressive Caucus want Pelosi to schedule vote on Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure after $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill passes.

Updated: September 27, 2021 - 1:44pm

Half of House Progressive Caucus would vote against the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill without passage of a $3.5 trillion filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill first, says Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat and caucus  chairwoman.

When Jayapal was asked Friday whether thinks half of the caucus would oppose the infrastructure bill if the vote were held today.

"Yes," she replied.

The House Progressive Caucus currently has 95 Democratic House members. Jayapal added that there would likely not be enough yes votes from Republicans to overcome progressive opposition to the roughly $1.1 trillion bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that there would be a test vote this week in the House on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Democratic leaders are still working on drafting the language of the separate reconciliation bill, which mainly includes federal spending for new social safety net programs. 

Members of the House Progressive Caucus have been calling on Pelosi to wait to schedule a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill until a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is passed.

Congressional Democrats originally had the infrastructure spending combined with the so-called reconciliation bill, which is full of progressive initiatives including climate change and government-funded health care. Senate Democrats were able to pass the infrastructure bill essentially by stripping it of such initiatives. Now, House Progressives fear that if they pass the infrastructure bill first, moderate Democrats will leave them hangin on their massive, wish-list reconciliation package. 

"We don’t pass the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act, investing in child care, climate action, paid leave, housing, health care, education, and a roadmap to citizenship. Let’s get this done and deliver for the people," Jayapal tweeted on Sunday.

"As soon as we pass the Build Back Better bill with long-overdue investments in working families, Progressives will vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That's the deal we agreed to more than three months ago. Stick to it," she tweeted on Monday.

Among the moderates expressed concern about passing a massive $3.5 trillion spending bill is Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who has said he would vote against it.

Jayapal said she wants to meet with him and Sen. Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, another possible moderate holdout.

"I would love to sit down with Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema to see if that can help move things along just, you know, for us to hear each other and see where we are and continue to negotiate," she said.