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Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa). Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Democrats in Trump-won districts are hesitant about their party using the reconciliation process to ram through a second, partisan infrastructure package, even as the more progressive wing of their party demands it.

Driving the news: Axios surveyed all seven House Democrats representing districts former President Trump won in 2020 to hear their concerns with the current infrastructure debate. Nearly all are undecided about how they'll vote on either the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill or a partisan follow-up.

  • While they've yet to commit either way on either plan, it was clear most are uneasy with a budget resolution costing as much as the one Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) desires — $6 trillion.

What they're saying:

Rep. Cindy Axne (Iowa-3) said Democrats are "getting a little top-heavy with the $6 trillion."

  • "I just want to see a package that includes the things that I think are truly infrastructure today: more on broadband, definitely child care, and that's what I'm really trying to work for us to get those pieces in there."
  • She added that she would've preferred both parties hashing out one big infrastructure bill together, rather than two separate bills.

Rep. Andy Kim (N.J.-3) said his biggest priority is passing a bill that helps tackle climate change.

  • “The problem that I have with the reconciliation efforts or other things is that I see bold ideas and big numbers, but what I haven't heard from the White House is how much of the problem is it going to solve?"
  • "Is this 50% of the problem? Is this 70% of the problem? If I don't have that impact assessment, I don't actually know if that's the best use of our money and that it’s going in the right direction.”

Why it matters: Both bills face an uphill battle in the House, where Democrats hold just a four-seat majority.

  • These Democrats will be key to ensuring the House can deliver on President Biden's top legislative priority.

Reps. Jared Golden (Maine-2) and Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.-3) had no comment on reconciliation.

  • "My position is that a lot of us worked very hard, put in a lot of work into getting a good bipartisan infrastructure bill," Golden told Axios. "I think you learn through those processes that you stay at the table and keep talking about things.”
  • Kind said in a written statement that he is "thrilled" to see infrastructure investment happen on a bipartisan basis but ignored questions about the more ambitious partisan package.

Reps. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.-8) and Matt Cartwright (Pa.-8) emerged as the most open to passing a reconciliation bill.

  • "Just show me what we’re talking about and show me how it’ll help my district," Slotkin told Axios. "I think I’ve got some peers who are like, ‘Heck no. I’m not doing a reconciliation package.’ I’m not there."
  • Cartwright said he's supportive of the effort, despite having yet to see the text. Asked if he'd vote for both packages, he replied: "Probably, yes."

Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.-17), who has announced she will not run for re-election, said she has faith Democratic leaders and Biden will find the right solution.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats plot debt-limit options

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer leave the U.S. Capitol this week. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democratic leadership in the House and Senate are working on a short-term funding bill — which needs to pass before Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — that includes a debt-limit increase.

Why it matters: The country will default on its debt in October for the first time in U.S. history if Congress doesn't increase the federal debt limit. Republicans and Democrats have entered a standoff — daring the other side to blink.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The precarious White House climate posture

President Biden at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The White House is stepping up its PR push for strong climate measures on Capitol Hill even while arguing it can make lots of progress with executive powers.

Driving the news: President Biden yesterday called for congressional action in remarks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

Democrats unveil voting rights compromise bill

Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced a pared-down voting bill — with support from both progressive and centrist wings of the party — aimed at expanding voter access and countering nationwide Republican-led efforts to alter election laws.

Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the product of negotiations overseen by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and was built from a framework put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose vote is crucial to Democratic efforts to advance legislation in the chamber.