Progressives stick it to Pelosi again, get their way after Biden visit

DCNFAndrew Trunsky, DCNF

Left wing Democrats are holding firm against voting for the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the House is set to vote on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act as well.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, said Thursday evening that “dozens of our [Congressional Progressive Caucus] members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together.” The caucus’ vow comes hours after the White House released a $1.75 trillion budget framework, which Biden urged Democrats to adopt during a caucus-wide meeting.

“We appreciate the President’s leadership and his commitment to getting this process over the finish line,” Jayapal said. “He reaffirmed, as our Caucus has month after month, that both the infrastructure bill and the popular Build Back Better Act must move together because they are part of the same agenda.”

Biden delayed a trip to Rome and Scotland to speak to Democrats in the Capitol Thursday, calling the framework “historic” after the meeting concluded and praising his party’s ability to compromise even as several Democrats did not officially get on board. After Biden departed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to bring the infrastructure bill to a vote before Biden landed, but many CPC members insisted that the framework was not good enough, instead wanting to see the budget’s legislative text.

“If a vote on the BIF is held today, I’m a no,” Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush told reporters. She was echoed by Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib: “Hell no on BIF,” she said.

The bill’s text, totaling 1,684 pages, was released Thursday afternoon about an hour before the House Rules Committee met to discuss its contents. The hearing featured the chairs and ranking members of the Ways and Means, Budget and Energy and Commerce Committees, with Democrats touting its “transformative” nature and Republicans warning of the damage it would inflict on the country.

The White House framework is half the size of the original $3.5 trillion budget proposed, and omits long-sought Democratic priorities like paid family and medical leave, dental and vision coverage under Medicare and tax increases on wealthy Americans and corporations. It does, however, include hearing coverage under Medicare, universal pre-K, a year extension of the child tax credit and $555 billion in climate change investments billions for affordable housing and education.

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