House Moderates Say They Won’t Back Budget Vote Until Infrastructure Bill Passes
Nine moderate House Democrats told Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday that they will not vote for a budget resolution meant to pave the way for the passage of a $3.5 trillion social policy package later this year until a Senate-approved infrastructure bill passes the House and is signed into law.
The pledge, in a letter released early Friday, is a major rift that threatens the carefully choreographed, two-track effort by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to enact both a trillion-dollar, bipartisan infrastructure deal and an even more ambitious — but partisan — social policy measure. The nine House members are more than enough to block consideration of the budget blueprint in a House where Democrats hold a three-seat majority.
The Senate passed the infrastructure bill on Tuesday with 69 votes, including 19 Republicans. It then approved, on a party-line vote early Wednesday, a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that, if passed by the House, would allow Democrats in both chambers to assemble the social policy bill this fall without fear of a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Ms. Pelosi has called the House back early from its summer recess to consider the budget resolution the week of Aug. 23. To assuage liberal Democrats more interested in the social policy bill, Ms. Pelosi promised that she would not bring the infrastructure bill to a vote in the House until the Senate passed the social policy bill. Liberals fear that once the infrastructure bill is signed, moderate Democrats in the House and Senate will withdraw their support for the far-reaching social policy measure.
But that social policy bill might not pass until well into the fall, if ever, given the 50-to-50 partisan split in the Senate. And moderate House Democrats say delaying a vote on infrastructure runs the risk of unforeseen events derailing it.