In what appears to be a sign of her diminishing ability to corral warring factions within her own party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was forced to – at least temporarily – admit defeat and delay a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has been the source of a shocking level of Democrat discord, as The Hill reports.
Setting a new deadline of Oct. 31 for passage of the package, Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent Saturday that “more time was needed” to generate the necessary support for the bipartisan measure as well as the massive $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending bill that has driven a wedge between the moderates and the progressives within her party.
Though Pelosi – with the help of President Joe Biden – attempted to break the deadlock that prevented approval of the smaller infrastructure measure last week, far-left Democrats held firm on their prior pledge to scuttle the smaller bill if it was not linked to passage of the reconciliation plan.
As The Hill further noted, Pelosi admitted that there were “two dynamics” at play within the party in recent weeks and that “out of respect for our colleagues who support the bills and out of recognition of the need for both,” she had no interested in bringing the smaller bill to the House floor only to see it go down to defeat.
Pelosi is pushing for passage of the bipartisan plan by the end of the month, reminding her colleagues that “there is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline, after last night’s passage of a critical 30-day extension,” a reference to the temporary reprieve on an expiration of highway funding signed by Biden over the weekend, a category of appropriation included in the $1.2 million package.
The speaker’s decision making over the past several weeks has drawn significant criticism even from members of her own party, with New Jersey Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer slamming her conduct by opining that she had “breached her firm, public commitment to Members of Congress and the American people to hold a vote and to pass the once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure bill,” as the New York Post noted.
Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), who, together with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), has been playing the role of spoiler regarding the far-left’s socialistic spending push, voiced her disapproval with the manner in which Pelosi has allowed the situation to play out with regard to the smaller spending measure, as Fox News reported.
“The failure of the U.S. House to hold a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is inexcusable, and deeply disappointing for communities across our country. Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity, and better broadband only hurts everyday families.”
Though Pelosi has perhaps bought herself a bit of additional time to engage in negotiations, and some on the far left have already acknowledged the need to lower the price tag on the reconciliation bill, it remains to be seen whether the speaker will ultimately pull this one out or go down to what would be a humiliating and – for her – rare defeat.