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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries arrives for a House vote last month. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The infrastructure agreement cinched Wednesday by senators faces several changes in the House before it — and a companion reconciliation bill — have any chance of becoming law.

Why it matters: The myopic focus on the bipartisan group of Senate negotiators overlooks House progressives and others ready to pounce. They have the ability to quash any deal, given the narrow Democratic margins not only in the Senate but also the House.

What they're saying...

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), No. 5 in House leadership: "It's important to have a bipartisan bill … but we also want a 21st century infrastructure bill that is resilient and sustainable, and recognizes the threat that climate change poses."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whip of the House Progressive Caucus, told Axios the group is debating whether they'll demand substantive changes.

  • "I think it's gonna be really valuable for us to be as involved as possible. We do have a progressive champion [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)] in the Senate ... and the chair here on the House side is also a member of our caucus [Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)].”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said: "The soup is not cooked yet. So, I'm not going to prejudge what they're doing."

What we're hearing: Progressive Democrats are opposed to the Senate Budget Committee's plans to keep the total price tag for the two bills at $4.1 trillion, especially if Republicans ultimately refuse to support the bipartisan, "hard" infrastructure package in the Senate.

  • Axios reported last week that Senate Democrats on the Budget Committee don't want to reopen debate on the roughly $1.2 trillion bipartisan proposal, even if it founders in their chamber.
  • They're eager to make the argument that the GOP opposed the measure even when it included everything their party members negotiated.
  • "Why not try to get a more ambitious proposal if Republicans are no longer in the equation?" one progressive lawmaker told Axios, requesting anonymity.

Between the lines: By design, the House is an entirely different beast than the Senate, a rowdy chamber with 435 members as opposed to a more clubby group of 100.

  • In a sense of the chamber's tenor, Rep. DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, called the Senate's bipartisan bill “crap” during a private meeting on Tuesday, Politico reported.

The bottom line: In order to pass, the infrastructure bills have to go through a rigorous process in the House — one that could change the face of both measures before President Biden takes the cap off his pen.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of members of the House to 435.

Go deeper

Progressives roiled by Pelosi’s sudden strategy shift

Photo: Craig Hudson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would move forward with a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Friday, despite anger and surprise from progressives in the caucus who were caught off guard by the sudden shift in strategy.

Driving the news: Pelosi changed course when she called for a vote on the infrastructure bill before a final vote on the social spending package as a way to appease moderates who want to see a CBO score.

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said progressives would not support a standalone infrastructure vote and would likewise wait for a CBO score, leaving a path forward on both bills unclear.

First look: Conservative group aims $2m at frontline Democrats on BBB

A conservative anti-tax group is dropping $2 million on a new ad campaign, urging vulnerable House Democrats in Virginia and other swing districts to oppose President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan.

Why it matters: The Coalition to Protect American Workers, led by former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short, is seizing on Democrats' poor election performance on Tuesday to hit key frontline members ahead of an expected House vote on the package.

House passes $1.2T bipartisan infrastructure bill, sending it to Biden's desk

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Craig Hudson/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The House on Friday passed, 228-206, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, handing President Biden a major victory after months of party infighting and negotiations.

Why it matters: The core piece of Biden’s signature domestic agenda includes massive investments in roads, bridges and waterways, among other “hard infrastructure” provisions.