- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 26, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waffled Sunday on her commitment to bring the bipartisan $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill to the House floor Monday even as she downplayed Democratic infighting between the party’s moderate and progressive wings.

Mrs. Pelosi told reporters Friday that the vote would be held Monday, but she told ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos that the timing would depend on the votes.

“Let me just say we’re going to pass the bill this week,” she said, adding, “you know, I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.”

She emphasized that the bill was “the vision of the president,” and that his Building Back Better plan has “the support of over 95% of our caucus.”

“I think any time you put an arbitrary date — well, remember when Republicans said they were going to overturn the Affordable Care Act on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act?  I knew right then and there they were doomed,” she said, referring to the 2017 vote.

Mrs. Pelosi continued: “You cannot choose the date, you have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, warned last week that House progressives would defeat the infrastructure bill unless the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation wins passage first.

Even so, Mrs. Pelosi said reports of tension within the party were overblown, insisting “this isn’t about moderates versus progressives.”

Ms. Jayapal was also skeptical about the prospect of a Monday showdown, saying that “I don’t believe there will be a vote” because “the votes aren’t there.”

“I mean, the speaker is an incredibly good vote-counter. And she knows exactly where her caucus stands,” said Ms. Jayapal on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And we have been really clear on that.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Democrat and a member of the House Blue Dog Coalition, said he was confident any holdouts will vote for the infrastructure bill when push comes to shove.

“I believe when it does come to the floor, that we will have the votes,” Mr. Gottheimer said on CNN. “I don’t believe any Democrat or a small fraction of Democrats is going to come for a vote on infrastructure, on 2 million jobs a year for hardworking men and women of labor, and to make sure to fight climate change, and vote against it.”

He added that the bill was “a key part of the president’s agenda.”

“I just don’t buy, at the end of the day, that folks will vote against it,” Mr. Gottheimer said. “And I think it’s right to say, for them to hear from people like me and others that we are completely committed to getting a reconciliation package.”

“Overwhelmingly, the entirety of our caucus except for a few whose judgment I respect support the vision of Joe Biden and we will make progress on it this week,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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