Ian Patrick, FISM News
In a move that further reflects the divide in the Democratic caucus on the massive $3.5 trillion social spending plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed a vote on the smaller $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill late Thursday night .
During her weekly press conference given shortly after the stopgap budget bill was passed through the House of Representatives, Pelosi said she felt good about the House’s ability to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIF) and the massive $3.5 trillion bill, called the Build Back Better Plan.
“I think we’re in a good place right now. We’re making progress,” Pelosi said. When asked by a reporter if she plans to delay the vote, she kept her answer vague saying, “I plan on moving forward in a positive way, and everybody has to think that this is the path we’re on.”
“It’s not a fork in the road – maybe here, maybe there. It’s a path that we’re on. And right now, as I’ve said, we had a great morning, lots of conversations as we come to the end,” she said.
As the day wore on, however, top Democrats said that voting on the BIF would be delayed until further notice. While leaving the Capitol grounds after midnight Pelosi said that a vote will happen today, but then said “we’ll see” when asked if that vote is definitely going to happen.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that “progress has been made” but the Congressional Democrats “are not there yet.”
A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever. But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing. While Democrats do have some differences, we share common goals of creating good union jobs, building a clean energy future, cutting taxes for working families and small businesses, helping to give those families breathing room on basic expenses—and doing it without adding to the deficit, by making those at the top pay their fair share.
The White House has been strongly pushing for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Plan, which consists almost entirely of President Biden’s progressive and social spending agendas. The president himself even made sure to remind his party of the “benefits” of the sweeping legislation.
We have a path to usher in a new era of economic growth that benefits everybody, not just those at the top, with the Build Back Better Agenda and Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2021
The reason for the hesitancy among Democrats to pass this massive bill is due to the fighting between the more progressive end of the party and the more moderate end. In fact, Pelosi had already once delayed the vote on the BIF because progressives threatened to tank the bill if it wasn’t combined with the Build Back Better Plan.
This is the exact disagreement that has inflamed tensions. Some moderate Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have voiced public opposition to the bill because of its massive price tag. Manchin even proposed a stripped down version of the bill totaling $1.5 trillion, but staunch supporters of the original $3.5 trillion plan won’t support the less expensive attempt.
The latest delay from top Democrats is because these same progressives have remained resolute to not vote on the BIF without voting on the Build Back Better Plan simultaneously. With midterm elections coming up, however, American voters may be looking to replace seats in Congress if Democrats cannot work together.