Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House delays infrastructure vote after progressives balk

Pelosi speaks behind lectern

Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The House again delayed a vote on the president's bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday after opposition by progressives made it clear the legislation would not pass.

Why it matters: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had told Democrats earlier in the day she would call a vote after President Biden said "my presidency will be determined" by the passage — or lack thereof — of his two massive spending bills.

  • The Speaker pulled out all the stops on Thursday to pass the bill, including a caucus-wide visit from the president, a release of the text for the $1.75 trillion spending package and a Rules Committee hearing — but to no avail.

Between the lines: Democrats' patience is continuing to wear thin as leadership keeps delaying a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill that's already cleared the Senate. Pelosi's initial goal was to pass it on Sept. 27.

  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus continued to dig it heels as late as 5 p.m. on Thursday, writing in a statement, “Members of our Caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act."
  • Although the caucus passed a framework for a deal on a $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion also proposed by Biden, progressives refused to pass the bipartisan bill before the bigger bill was drafted and passed by the Senate.
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement, "We will work immediately to finalize and pass both pieces of legislation through the House together.”
  • Democrats had hoped to to use House approval of the infrastructure bill to boost their candidates in the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia on Nov. 2.

What's next: The House is voting Thursday night on a temporary surface transportation authorization. The last short-term funding extension passed was set to expire on Sunday.

  • Members will leave for the weekend and return to continue debate on the president's spending agenda, a source familiar with the procedure confirmed to Axios.
  • Thursday night's surface transportation extension will run out on Dec. 3, which is the same day that the government runs out of funding and potentially hits the debt ceiling.
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