House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that she will not hold a House vote on a bipartisan infrastructure plan bill until the Senate passes a separate, much larger $3.5 trillion budget framework via budget reconciliation rules.
A group of Senate Democrats and Republicans are still working on the details of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, but many Democrats also want to ensure that a follow-on $3.5 trillion package becomes law.
“I won’t put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative,” Pelosi said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We are rooting for the infrastructure bill to pass, but we all know that more needs to be done.”
The bipartisan framework focuses mostly on core infrastructure projects like roads, water, and bridges, and the Democrat-sponsored $3.5 trillion proposal includes massive spending for national preschool, free community college, and Medicare expansion, and some of President Joe Biden’s other priorities, such as climate measures.
Democrats in the House and Senate are working together to ram the package through the chamber using the budgetary tool that will allow them to sidestep a Republican filibuster in the 50-50 split Senate to pass the $3.5 trillion in funding on party lines. Senate democrats previously used budget reconciliation rules to pass the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan with zero Republican backing.
“Let me be really clear on this: we will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill. If there is no bipartisan bill, then we’ll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill,” Pelosi said days earlier at a press conference in the Capitol.
“I’m very optimistic that it will happen. And I don’t want to say allay the fears—I don’t think they’re fears, they’re just advocating. And God bless them for doing that. But we’re not going down the path unless we all go down the path together,” Pelosi said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a top negotiator on the bipartisan package, warned on Sunday that Pelosi’s marks could jeopardize the deal.
“What she has just said is entirely counter to what President Biden has committed to, and what the Senate is doing, which is a two-track process,” he told ABC News on “This Week.” “The infrastructure bill has nothing to do with the reckless tax-and-spend extravaganza she’s talking about.”
When asked whether Congress could end up with nothing passing, Portman said, “If she [Pelosi] has her way, we could.”
“We’re about 90 percent of the way there,” Portman added of the deal. “I feel good about getting that done this week.”
Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to open debate on the measure, saying they wanted to see a text of the measure first. Both parties have used “shell” or incomplete bills in the past to get floor action moving.
Reuters contributed to this report.