House speeds up infrastructure vote, but delays vote on social spending bill: NPR

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., (Center) joined from left by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. ; and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., march to brief reporters after a day of delay in voting to advance President Joe Biden’s home policy agenda on the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP


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J. Scott Applewhite / AP


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., (Center) joined from left by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. ; and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., march to brief reporters after a day of delay in voting to advance President Joe Biden’s home policy agenda on the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Despite a call earlier today from President Biden for House Democrats to back two bills that represent the bulk of his legislative agenda and pass them “now,” House leaders were unable to pull together enough votes to pass both measures.

Instead, House leaders said they would vote on the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate in August and on a rule that governs debate on the bill. Build Back Better Friday bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would put the $ 1.75 trillion social spending bill to a vote before Thanksgiving, after the Congressional Budget Office was able to analyze the bill.

“We were hoping to be able to present both bills today. Some members want more clarification or validation of the numbers that have been put forward… that they be fully paid,” Pelosi said. “And we honor that request.”

A handful of House moderates refused to vote on the social spending package, which covers child care, education, health care and the climate, unless they receive a Congressional Budget score Office, which would show how much the bill would cost U.S. taxpayers. A CBO score can take weeks to get once an invoice is finally written.

Pelosi, who has a narrow margin in the House, could only afford to lose three Democratic votes.

The adoption of the infrastructure bill remains in question. President of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, said in a statement: “If our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time – after which we can vote on them. of them. bills together. “

Another setback for the Build Back Better agenda

After weeks of negotiations, Biden publicly urged members of the House on Friday morning to vote for both bills.

“Right now, we are on the cusp of historic economic progress: two bills that together will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our country and our people, reduce costs to families and will turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, “he said. “Passing these bills will make it clear to the American people, ‘We hear your voices,'” Biden said.

But it became clear – despite many conversations, phone calls, and a seven-hour open vote – Pelosi did not yet have the votes.

The moderates were not prepared to support the bill, even with a partial analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The JCT released a preliminary estimate Thursday morning that around $ 1.47 trillion of the bill would be covered by the package’s funding sources. House Ways and Means President Richard Neal, D-Mass., Said the bill would be paid in full if revenue from better IRS enforcement and prescription drug price savings were included in the ‘to analyse.

This is the latest setback for the social spending package is $ 1.75 trillion, was already cut from its original $ 3.5 trillion proposal.

The negotiations were constant; Earlier this week, a compromise was finally reached on reducing the costs of prescription drugs for the elderly.

Paid family leave has been reduced to four weeks from a previous three months (at one point it seemed to be completely out of the question, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to add it back under a form or another Wednesday).

But even if the bill passes in the House, obstacles remain in the Senate. Originally, Pelosi wanted a negotiated spending program that would go through the Senate as is. It seems unlikely.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he is opposed to including paid time off in this bill. He argued that this kind of policy change should be done in a bipartisan fashion.

In addition, the Senate parliamentarian will need to review the bill to ensure that all elements meet the rules of reconciliation, the budget tool used by Democrats to pass the bill by simple majority in the equally divided Senate.

The MP spoke out against previous attempts to include a provision on immigration reform in the package. The Democrats have included an immigration measure that they hope wipes out the parliamentarian this time around.

And after a tense election night Tuesday that brought a Republican governor to Virginia and a surprisingly tight gubernatorial race in New Jersey, Democrats face new pressure to coordinate strategy and pass meaningful legislation.

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