Infighting among Democrats forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) to delay a vote on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The failure to agree on a pet program can potentially deal a blow to President Joe Biden’s major agenda.
Political Infighting Among Democrats Over Infrastructure Spending
Pelosi suspended the plans to bring the $1 trillion infrastructure bill to a vote. This was the result of a failure of party leaders to agree on the infrastructure program. The more progressive members of the party wanted a $3.5 trillion program.
Apart from infrastructure, the proposed plan includes funding for Medicare expansion and climate change initiatives. The plan also contains measures to boost federal safety-net programs.
In addition, Democrats want tax increases aimed at wealthy Americans to pay for the bill.
However, centrists and moderates want something lesser. Democrat leaders including Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) said they won’t agree to a bill they find too expensive.
In particular, Manchin said that for the bill to win his support, proponents need to make more dramatic cuts. This will cut into the liberals’ most prized priorities.
They helped modify the bill to lower the budget to $1 trillion. However, the liberal proponents said they won’t support the lower-priced bill.
Infighting Among Democrats Spills Over From House to Senate
House Democrats identified with the progressive bloc are now turning their ire towards Sinema and Manchin. As a result, Pelosi had to spend the entire day yesterday meeting with both factions.
The continued infighting among Democrats finally forced her hand to suspend voting for the bill. She didn’t dare put the bill to a vote given the possibility members of her own party would vote no.
Despite the stalemate, the White House remains confident a deal will eventually push through. In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki looked forward to more work ahead.
“A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever. But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing,” she said.
Widening Rift Within The Party
The delayed vote caused by infighting among Democrats exposed a widening rift among Democrat lawmakers. The party already hangs on a narrow majority in both Houses.
Many House lawmakers showed disappointment in the party’s ability to push their infrastructure plan forward. They believe a broad program fulfills Biden’s promise to invest in the country’s aging infrastructure “Build Back Better” programs.
Not delivering on this promise can cause the Democratic party to lose their already thin majority during next year’s elections.
Representative Ilhan Omar (MN), insisted that they should help with Biden’s campaign promise of investing in the country. She referred to both the infrastructure plan and the House’s $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending proposals. “If we fail to deliver that promise, we have failed the American people.”
Pelosi Can Still Gather the Needed Votes
Meanwhile, party moderates continue to insist on a lower-cost bill. Pelosi allowed the less expensive plan to undergo consideration to keep the peace.
Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ), believes Pelosi can still gather the needed votes. In addition, he also thinks that the Democrats who said they’d vote against the lower budget bill won’t.
Watch the CNBC Television news exploring why Democratic infighting could kill President Joe Biden’s agenda:
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