House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday backed off her pledge to bring the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill up for a vote on Monday, saying she won’t do it if the votes aren’t there.
“You cannot choose the date. You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will,” she said.
But the California Democrat insisted that “we’re going to pass the bill this week.”
Pelosi last Friday said she would bring the measure up for a floor vote on Monday under pressure from moderate Democrats who have tied its fate to the sweeping $3.5 trillion spending plan.
Both are key parts of President Biden’s agenda.
Moderates want the bipartisan measure to pass first, but progressive Democrats are pushing for a vote first on the $3.5 trillion spending legislation that contains funding for the climate, family leave, education and expansion of the social safety net.
“In order to move forward, we have to build consensus,” Pelosi said.
She said it’s “self-evident” that the price tag for the spending plan will come in under $3.5 trillion.
“Yeah, that seems self-evident. That seems self-evident,” she told host George Stephanopoulos.
“I think even those who want a smaller number support the vision of the president,” she said. “Obviously with negotiations there will have to be some changes with that, the sooner the better so that we can build our consensus to go forward, and we will do that,” Pelosi said.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, confirmed during an appearance on CNN that the votes aren’t there for the bipartisan deal.
“I don’t believe there will be a vote,” Jayapal said on “State of the Union.” “The speaker is an incredibly good vote counter, and she knows exactly where her caucus stands, and we’ve been really clear on that.”
“This is a pre-conference bill, which means everybody, everybody in the Senate, everybody in the House, has to agree to it,” Jayapal added.
She said the “vast majority of the Democratic caucus” is behind Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposals, but wants the Senate to engage with the House.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) called on the Democrats in the House to pass the infrastructure bill first, saying the two pieces of legislation are separate.
”You’ve got the infrastructure, a historic once-in-a-century [bill]. … There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pass that right away and get those shovels in the ground,” Gottheimer, the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said during an appearance on CNN.
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan passed the Senate in August by a 69-30 vote.
The House Budget Committee on Saturday approved advancing the $3.5 trillion plan to a floor vote.
All of the 16 Republicans on the panel voted against it.