CV NEWS FEED // House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, told the press Sunday that she saw it as “self-evident” that Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a massive $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, will have to become smaller before it passes.
“Yeah, that seems self-evident,” she said in reply to a question on ABC’s “This Week” about whether the package would have to be reduced. “I think even those who want a smaller number support the vision of the president,” she said.
House Democrats have not been fully united on the plan, with moderate Democrats pushing for a vote on a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of the much more controversial Build Back Better Act, while more progressive members of the Party demand agreement on the full $3.5 trillion package before they will commit to supporting the smaller bill.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, referred to moderates as a “small destructive group of members,” last week. “I will not vote for an infrastructure bill unless we have reconciliation ready to go,” she said.
The back-and-forth between the two wings of the Democratic Party continued over the weekend, The Hill reported:
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a moderate, also seemed to believe that it would be possible to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill while adding that lawmakers would “keep working” on the reconciliation package.
“You’ve got the infrastructure, a historic once-in-a-century [bill]… There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pass that right away and get those shovels in the ground,” Gottheimer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a senior Democratic caucus whip and a key progressive lawmaker who helps count votes, did not appear to share in her colleagues’ optimism, saying simply that “the votes aren’t there.”
“I don’t believe there will be a vote,” Jayapal said of the infrastructure bill on “State of the Union.” “The Speaker is an incredibly good vote counter, and she knows exactly where her caucus stands, and we’ve been really clear on that.”
“We have to find our common ground, respectful of each other’s views,” Pelosi said Sunday. “This isn’t about moderates versus progressives.”
Pelosi promised that Democrats will “make progress on it this week.” “Let me just say we’re going to pass the bill this week,” she added. “I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.”
In the Senate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, has vowed to oppose the $3.5 trillion bill, arguing that its price tag is irresponsible and will damage the nation’s ability to respond to future crises and decrying the already-alarming levels of monetary inflation, which he referred to as a “tax” on working-class Americans.
As CatholicVote reported:
Manchin described the current approach in Congress as establishing “an artificial $3.5 trillion spending number and then reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities that should be funded,” which “isn’t how you make good policy.”
Inflation, which is still on the rise, “is bleeding the value of Americans’ wages and income,” Manchin pointed out. He also suggested that the massive, Biden-backed spending bill is not a product of truly compassionate motives, but is rather an exercise in political and social engineering.