The U.S. House of Representatives is delaying a vote on the Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill as Democrats feud.
A progressive revolt left Democrats short of votes. Still, leaders insisted they propose the bill again in the upcoming days, allowing more time to reach a deal on a separate safety net and climate bill.
President Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure plan will now have to wait. Democratic leaders put off a planned vote on a crucial part of their domestic agenda.
Postponement allows Democrat leaders and supporters of the bill more time to hammer out a deal on an expansive climate change and social safety net to bring more progressive liberals along.
Given the distance between the party’s feuding factions, centrists, and more liberal, left-leaning members, agreement on the pricey infrastructure bill seems unlikely. Congress remains stalled, bogged down by partisan divides and internal Democratic infighting.
The Senate and House passed, and the president signed, legislation to fund the government until December 3. The funding includes more than $28 billion in disaster relief and $6.3 billion to help relocate Afghani refugees.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and top members of President Biden’s team worked feverishly to forge a deal to allow the passage of the expansive public works measure the Senate approved in August.
Despite arm-twisting and cajoling, the most liberal House members would not sign on to the bill.
Progressive leaders had long said they would oppose the bill until they saw the legislation they were pushing for — a wide-reaching bill with universal pre-kindergarten, decisive measures to combat climate change, Medicare expansion, and paid family leave.
“Nobody should be surprised that we are where we are because we’ve been telling you that for three and a half months,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Not enough? Too much?
The infrastructure measure would provide $550 billion in new funding. It would earmark $110 billion for bridges, roads, and other projects; devote $65 million to expand high-speed internet access; provide $25 million for airports and begin the shift toward electric vehicles with fortifications of the electricity grid and installation of new charging stations across the country, which are necessary to power electric vehicles.
Conservative-leaning Democrats made it clear that they would never support a package anywhere near as large as the Biden administration proposed.
Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters he would not support a bill with a price tag of more than $1.5 trillion, less than half the size of the proposed Democrat package.
“I’m trying to make sure they understand that I’m at $1.5 trillion. I don’t see a deal tonight — I really don’t,” Sen. Manchin explained to reporters outside Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, where he met with White House officials.
Shortly following the meeting, House leaders said that the vote would be delayed.
The decision to delay came after Pelosi had put her long congressional record on the line and told top Democrats that the climate and social policy measure was “the culmination of my career in Congress.”
Ultimately, Pelosi did not want to see the bill voted down and decided it would be more beneficial for the president’s plan to postpone the vote.