The far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus plans to have its members in the House kill the first part of President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure plan. The Senate passed the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill with all its Democratic members and 19 Republicans.
The progressives may act to stop the infrastructure bill if the $3.5 trillion spending plan pending in the Senate fails to move forward by reconciliation. The spending bill includes many of the progressives’ major priorities, including the “Green New Deal,” education spending, and paid medical and family leaves programs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she will block the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the reconciliation spending bill is not packaged on delivery from the Senate.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, stated recently that the caucus has privately decided that it is prepared to threaten to kill the infrastructure bill to force Senate Democrats to act on passing the reconciliation bill.
Jayapal said that even if some House Republicans vote to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, her caucus has the numbers “far beyond 20” to stop the bill. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has 96 members.
On Monday, the House reconvened for a two-week legislative session. During the session, a final vote on the infrastructure package is expected.
The Democrats will need the votes of every party member in the Senate, plus a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, to pass the $3.5 trillion spending plan by the reconciliation process. No Republican is expected to support the bill, and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) have publicly objected to the plan.
Manchin has dealt a significant blow to the reconciliation bill by saying he flatly rejects the proposed spending levels included. He said he would support a reconciliation bill with total spending in a $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion range.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said that a lower total spending level in a reconciliation bill is “absolutely not acceptable.” Sanders said he didn’t think Biden or the Democratic caucus would compromise on the proposed spending bill.
Some progressive caucus members believe that they can use the infrastructure bill as political leverage against Manchin and Sinema. The hope is that the threat of losing the bipartisan infrastructure bill will force the moderate Democrats to come around on the massive tax-and-print-and-spend plan.