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Pelosi Blinks on the Infrastructure Package Vote but What About the Progressives?

Citing "difficult choices" Pelosi backed down on a key reconciliation deal demand.
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Pelosi Blinks

Pelosi Backs Down

After insisting for months that she would not let the House vote on an infrastructure bill until there was a vote on a broader reconciliation package, Pelosi blinked.

The Speaker now says Biden's Infrastructure Bill Can't Wait

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on Monday that passage of the $550 billion infrastructure bill must not wait for President Joe Biden's multitrillion-dollar safety net bill, saying the larger package is not yet ready for a vote.

In a private caucus meeting, Pelosi, D-Calif., said the party must "make difficult choices," because the dynamics have changed and Democrats have not yet agreed to a spending level, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

"I told all of you that we wouldn't go on to the [infrastructure bill until] we had the reconciliation bill passed by the Senate. We were right on schedule to do all of that, until 10 days ago, a week ago, when I heard the news that this number had to come down," Pelosi said, according to the source. "It all changed, so our approach had to change.

"We had to accommodate the changes that were being necessitated. And we cannot be ready to say until the Senate passed the bill we can't do BIF," she said, using a shorthand for Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the source said.

What About the Progressives?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, stuck by that position Monday evening after the meeting, saying House progressives are prepared to vote down the infrastructure bill Thursday.

"We need the reconciliation bill, and so this is a situation where the vast, vast, vast majority of Democrats want to get the president's agenda done," she said on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show." "It can't be a pinky promise, right, Rachel? It's got to be an actual bill that is written, the legislative text is written, the numbers are agreed to, everything is agreed to."

How to Tell If the Votes are There

That's easy. If Pelosi schedules a vote this week, she has them. If not, she doesn't.

She can only afford to lose 3 votes and the Progressive Caucus is 65 strong. 

Will they blink? I don't know.

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Perhaps there is some purposeful drama. A failed vote to send a message followed by passage.

Also, there are a number of Republicans who will vote for the bill, just not 65 of them.

 So something like 10 Progressives can send a message if there are 7 Republicans who vote passage (Democrats have 3 votes to spare).

Best Outcome

I am in totally favor of starting all over with ideas that make more sense.

The Best outcome is if Progressive bickering and Democrat infighting kill the entire deal infrastructure and all, but especially the $3.5 trillion Progressive Express.

When Does Pelosi Blink On the Debt Ceiling?

For discussion, please see Debt Ceiling Congressional Chicken and How the Fed Might Respond.

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