Nancy Pelosi pushes futile vote on multibillion dollar spending bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing to vote this week on President Biden’s multibillion-dollar welfare legislation, but strong divisions remain among Democrats over the size and scope of the final bill.
Ms Pelosi told reporters on Monday that she was eager to push through the legislation at a White House event commemorating Mr Biden’s signing of the bipartisan infrastructure package.
“I am so happy that with any luck this week we will be spending Rebuilding Better [legislation] to get tax cuts for working American families, to create millions more jobs, to cut health care costs, and it all paid off by forcing everyone to pay their fair share, âthe Democrat said Californian.
The multibillion-dollar social protection and climate change bill has stalled in recent weeks amid divisions among Democrats, particularly the refusal of House moderates to support the measure without knowing its total cost.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and other centrist Democrats say anything less than a thorough analysis by the Congressional Budget Office will garner their support. Mr Gottheimer and his allies once prevented Ms Pelosi from voting on the bill because that data was not available.
“I am optimistic that the data will give us what we need,” said Mr. Gottheimer. âObviously we have to see them first, but that’s the kind of information I think we should see to make a responsible decision. “
Far-left Democrats, including all 98 members of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, rebuffed calls for proper analysis from the CBO. They argue that lawmakers waited long enough to secure a victory for Mr. Biden’s national agenda.
CPC President Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, argued that progressives had already compromised with moderates by voting to pass Mr. Biden’s infrastructure legislation.
In return for their votes, the Progressives received a concession from Mr Gotthheimer and moderate that a vote on the welfare bill would take place during the week of November 15.
Ms Jayapal said progressives would hold moderates to the deal, regardless of how much information about the bill is available from the CBO.
âThe agreement we made with our colleagues was not for [a full] CBO score. It was to get additional financial information from the CBO, âMs. Jayapal said. “The agreement also stipulates that in no case will the vote take place beyond the week of November 15. We trust the commitments of our colleagues.”
Moderate Democrats, to date, have been silent on whether the CBO’s analysis will be enough to sway their support.
Mrs. Pelosi can only afford to lose three Democrats in a single vote. Six far-left lawmakers voted against the infrastructure bill earlier this month, but those defections were offset by 13 House Republicans voting in favor.
Future legislation, especially partisan measures like the Social Protection Bill, cannot count on the support of the GOP.
The stalemate could, however, turn out to be in vain.
CBO director Phillip Swagel announced Monday that the agency will have full invoice accounting by the end of the week.
âThe Congressional Budget Office plans to release a full cost estimateâ¦ by the end of Friday,â Mr. Swagel said.
The focus on proper verification by the CBO comes as House Democrats significantly expanded the original framework for the package Mr Biden released last month.
Ms Pelosi reinserted paid time off and an overhaul of Medicare prescription drug pricing to the proposal, even though those provisions were explicitly removed by the White House in the face of opposition from Senate lawmakers.
House Democrats have also added an extension to the state and local tax deduction, which primarily benefits wealthy residents of high-tax blue states such as New York and California.
Despite the additions, Ms Pelosi continued to claim that the package would cost just $ 1.75 trillion, with an additional $ 100 billion for an illegal immigrant amnesty subject to Senate parliamentary approval.
The immigration component will have to pass the Senate arbitrator because Democrats plan to move the package using a party line process known as budget reconciliation.
The process allows certain spending measures to bypass the 60-vote Senate filibuster threshold and move to a simple majority.
With the Senate split 50-50 and Democrats holding a majority only because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ decisive vote, the reconciliation bill must be acceptable to nearly all party members. by Mr. Biden.
This feat might be impossible due to the ideological divisions between moderate and progressive Democrats.
To complicate matters, any reconciliation bill that passes the House will be dead when it arrives in the Senate.
In this chamber, two moderate Democrats, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, hold the balance of power. Both lawmakers have shown a growing willingness to remove the spending provisions of the bill and draw red lines for their support.
“We will talk to everyone,” Manchin said. âWe’re going to watch everything. “