A scheduled House of Representatives vote on Thursday on a bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate passed last month is poised to fail despite Democrats controlling both chambers.
Democrats who describe themselves as progressive oppose approving the bill unless there’s a vote first that approves a $3.5 trillion budget package. Since that has not happened, they say there’s not enough votes for the infrastructure legislation just one day before the vote.
“Right now, it doesn’t look like it,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said during an appearance on MSNBC.
The progressive bloc has 96 members. Democrats control both the House and the Senate but have slim majorities in each, giving leverage to the bloc.
A majority of members will only vote for the infrastructure bill if the budget package is approved first, the caucus said after a meeting Tuesday.
Pelosi has maintained confidence that the bill will pass, but the outlook appears grim. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined allies in the House Tuesday, urging progressives to vote against the bill unless top Democrats agreed to first advance the budget package.
“It’s not the infrastructure bill THEN maybe the Build Back Better package down the road. That wasn’t the deal. Progressives won’t back down. We’re fighting the people’s fight and we’re going to deliver the entire Build Back Better agenda,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the progressive caucus, wrote on Twitter.
Jayapal told reporters in Washington late Tuesday that Pelosi “knows that we don’t have the votes for the bipartisan bill without the reconciliation” and has been in touch with the Californian regularly.
Asked if she would delay the vote again, Pelosi said around the same time that “we’re advancing.”
Moderate Democrats, meanwhile, want the budget legislation cut down. They’re keeping an eye on the Senate, where moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have expressed opposition to such a large package.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, expressed frustration Wednesday on CNN at how things are unfolding.
“You don’t hold up and not vote for an infrastructure package that’s historic once in a century that will help fix everything from water, to broadband, to fighting climate change, to the gateway tunnel between New York and New Jersey—you don’t hold that up, and hold it hostage while we’re working on another piece of legislation,” he said.
Still, he also expressed hope, adding, “We’re going to get both done.”