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Rep. Peter DeFazio. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

Some progressive House Democrats — and potentially 20 members of the pivotal Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — are signaling they'll vote against the Senate’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

Why it matters: With just three Democratic votes to spare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Biden must seriously consider every possible House defection if they hope to pass the Senate package.

  • "If it comes over in that form and it’s take-it-or-leave-it, I'm going to work to defeat it," Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the T&I Committee, told Axios.
  • "It’ll fail the House of Representatives," he said. "You know, I voted against Obama's [economic] recovery act."

Driving the news: While Senate negotiators are struggling to find a compromise on roughly $579 billion in new spending for "hard" infrastructure, Democrats on DeFazio’s committee are signaling the package might have just as much difficulty in the House.

  • 31 of the committee’s 37 Democratic members wrote Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday to ask for "a bicameral negotiation prior to the passage of any final infrastructure package."
  • "We don't want to see our work taken for granted and just be a rubber stamp for the Republicans," Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told Axios. "I would guess there are 20 'no’s'" for the Senate bill.
  • "I am a 'no.' I am," Rep. Henry Johnson (D-Ga.) told Axios.
  • There's also a broad concern in the House Progressive Caucus, lawmakers said.

The big picture: The Senate is attempting to pass two infrastructure packages at the same time: the bipartisan framework, which focuses mostly on traditional projects like roads and bridges, and a $3.5 trillion, Democrat-only bill that includes new spending for universal preschool, free community college and Medicare expansion.

  • The bipartisan package suffered a procedural setback Wednesday when Republicans voted against proceeding to a floor vote on an actual bill, which they say isn’t ready.
  • But there's also Democratic concern with the emerging compromise, as well as what might happen to the Senate deal in the House.
  • "I voted today to move forward to consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but more must be done to guarantee my support for the legislation currently being drafted," said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Between the lines: The White House is reaching out to wavering lawmakers on DeFazio’s committee, as Politico reported, and on Wednesday afternoon, DeFazio said he received a call from White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, the president's infrastructure point man.

  • "We’re in close touch with the president’s colleagues in the House, who he deeply respects and values as core partners," said Andrew Bates, a deputy White House spokesman.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also traveled to DeFazio's district last week, where the chairman called it an "honor" to host him.
  • But on Wednesday, before he spoke with Ricchetti, DeFazio called White House outreach to his committee members "odd" and hinted that officials were trying to work around him.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of committee signatories to 31.

Go deeper

Biden to Dems: This is my make-or-break moment

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Progressives “bamboozled” by Biden meeting

Rep. Cori Bush speaks after President Biden met with House Democrats on Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi huffed and puffed Thursday, but it was progressives who threatened to blow the whole House down if their demands weren't met.

Why it matters: The old guard leading the White House and Congress has learned for the second time in a month their pressure tactics no longer work with a new wave of Democrats. And in their high-stakes game of chicken, each is warning the other their demands could cost the party the White House and its congressional majorities.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leave a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 1. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.