House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday was forced to punt again on holding a vote on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill after widespread opposition from far-left Democrats.
Mrs. Pelosi, a California Democrat, told lawmakers she would instead push through a one-week, short-term extension of highway and road funding. Federal money for transportation is set to run out at the end of the month and Democrats had hoped to pass Mr. Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to cover the shortfall.
Those plans were upended by far-left Democrats, who have linked the infrastructure bill to passing President Biden’s $1.75 trillion expansion of the federal safety net.
“The reality is that while talks around the infrastructure bill lasted months in the Senate, there has only been serious discussion around the specifics of the larger Build Back Better Act in recent weeks,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Now, Congress needs to finish the job and bring both bills to a vote together.”
The 98 members of CPC have long said they are unwilling to accept anything short of the full legislative text of the bigger bill before agreeing to back the infrastructure package. Mr. Biden announced a framework Thursday morning for the $1.75 trillion social welfare and climate bill.
Mrs. Pelosi attempted to mollify progressives by releasing the 1,684-page text of the social welfare and climate bill to build momentum for the infrastructure deal.
“People have said ‘I want to see the text,’” Mrs. Pelosi said. “The text is up for review. … This is the legislative process.”
Progressives refused to compromise. Instead, the CPC shifted its position saying that the text had to be accepted by all the Democrats in both the House and Senate.
“There is too much at stake for working families and our communities to settle for something that can be later misunderstood, amended, or abandoned altogether,” said Mrs. Jayapal. “That is why dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together.”