House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reasserted her authority Sunday on Capitol Hill by throwing a wrench into the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan and lobbying for another anti-Trump Republican to join her panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
As momentum built for bipartisan action in Washington, Mrs. Pelosi stepped in to ensure her agenda did not get trumped. Mrs. Pelosi said she would not bring the anticipated Senate infrastructure bill forward for a vote in the House without adding other items from Democrats’ policy goals.
“Building the human infrastructure is really a part of building the physical infrastructure, so that’s why we will have something further to add [to the Senate’s bill],” Mrs. Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The bill is not as green as I would like it to be, the infrastructure bill, and I think that it’s something we could have passed a long time ago, even before the crisis was readily known to everyone, but nonetheless, I hope that it will pass, I won’t put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative.”
Mrs. Pelosi told ABC that she shares President Biden’s goal of a bipartisan bill but does not view Republican support as a “limitation” on the Democrats’ agenda. She said she wants a portion of the funding dedicated to “human infrastructure,” which includes child care and health care.
Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, told ABC that Congress could end up with nothing if Mrs. Pelosi insists on adding Democrats’ other agenda items to the bill.
“This is the right thing to do. It’s been totally bipartisan from the start. It’s the way we ought to be doing things in Washington to get stuff done, and I can’t believe the speaker of the House would be blocking it,” Mr. Portman said.
Mr. Portman said Mrs. Pelosi’s comments undercut Mr. Biden’s commitment to bipartisanship on the infrastructure legislation. He said the Senate was “about 90% of the way there” and he “felt good” about completing the legislation this week.
Sen. Mark R. Warner, Virginia Democrat, said Sunday that he expected the text of the infrastructure bill to become available Monday. He said Republicans and Democrats were previously at odds about paying for the infrastructure bill and blamed Republicans for preventing the proposal from being completed sooner.
“Candidly, we’ve had those menus of spends, spending items, agreed to for weeks, what we have had to work through, because my Republican colleagues did not want to use enhanced or actually making sure we follow our IRS tax laws, so we’ve had to replace some of those pay-fors,” Mr. Warner told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re down to the last couple of items, and I think you’re going to see a bill Monday afternoon.”
Mrs. Pelosi’s roadblocks also have deepened the divide over a legislative investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Mrs. Pelosi announced Sunday that she intended to ask Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican and vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, to serve on the Jan. 6 select committee. She blocked the participation of two Republican allies of Mr. Trump, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.
The committee already has Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican and an opponent of Mr. Trump, in its ranks. Mr. Kinzinger said in a Twitter post that he accepted Mrs. Pelosi‘s invitation.
“The two [Republicans] that I would not appoint are people who would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation, and there’s no way I would tolerate their antics as we seek the truth,” Mrs. Pelosi said on ABC.
Mr. Banks said Mrs. Pelosi was not interested in a thorough investigation that could reflect poorly on her. He told “Fox News Sunday” that he first learned of his exclusion from the panel through Twitter.
“It’s more clear than ever that Nancy Pelosi is not interested in an investigation,” Mr. Banks said. “She’s only interested in a narrative. … We were prepared to ask questions that no one else has asked and demand answers as to why the Capitol was vulnerable to an attack on January 6th. Why was there a systemic breakdown of security at the Capitol on January 6th? If we’re going to investigate January 6th, why not ask those questions?”
Mrs. Pelosi’s decision to flex her muscle ahead of the August congressional recess reflects her grip on Democrats’ actions before the midterm election campaign season gets into full swing next year.
The elections could yield changes in power internally and externally, but Mrs. Pelosi made clear Sunday that she would not change course on contentious political disputes over infrastructure and the panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot.
“Republicans will say what they will say, our select committee will seek the truth, it’s our patriotic duty to do so, and we do not come into our work worried about what the other side who has been afraid [will do],” Mrs. Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Maybe the Republicans can’t handle the truth, but we have a responsibility to seek it, to find it, and in a way that maintains the confidence of the American people.”