After a two-week stalemate between progressive and moderate members of the House Democratic coalition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is closing in on a deal to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Act, the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution.
The nine moderates—Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)—began the stalemate when they wrote in an Aug. 12 letter that they wouldn’t vote for the budget proposal before the House passed the infrastructure bill.
Later, moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) upped the ante when they joined with the nine congressmen to advise them on the situation. On Aug. 23, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) joined with the nine, making the situation even more difficult for Pelosi. Because the 10 control more than enough votes to derail the budget resolution, this situation puts Pelosi at risk of being unable to pass either.
Now, Pelosi is working on a deal with the 10 that may resolve the situation.
In a meeting that began the evening of Aug. 23 and continued the morning of Aug. 24, Pelosi met with Gottheimer behind closed doors to try to reach an agreement. In the meeting, she promised that the House would take up the infrastructure bill by Sept. 27. After that meeting, Pelosi told reporters, “When we bring up the bill, we’re going to have the votes.”
When asked whether she was concerned about the weeks-long stalemate, Pelosi responded curtly, “This is normal, this is part of the legislative process.”
This comment followed Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark’s (D-Mass.) introduction of legislation late Aug. 23 evening that would commit the House to this course.
This doesn’t mean that the situation is definitely resolved, however.
Despite Gottheimer’s meeting and agreement with Pelosi, the nine other moderates haven’t yet given any indication that they will sign on to the plan. With a House composition of 220 Democrats and 212 Republicans, Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes to avoid a tie or an outright rejection. She will need at least three other holdouts to join with Democrats to secure passage of the tripartite group of legislation.
A House session to consider the three bills will begin Aug. 24 at 12 EST, but it’s yet unclear which way the vote will go.