Government shutdown and infrastructure bill passed in Congress: live updates
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke out against tabling a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill on Thursday evening, an executive assistant said, after progressives rebelled, potentially delaying scrutiny until Democrats reach agreement on a separate and much broader social safety net and climate legislation.
Pelosi’s decision came after hours of intense negotiations, including an appeal with President Biden and a crush of meetings and calls with members of the House Democratic caucus.
The position of progressives today: The Liberal Democrats were convinced this week they had the numbers to block the bill, which would spend hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize roads, bridges, transit, railways, broadband , airports, ports and waterways.
They hope their harsh tactics will push the moderates to back their top priority: a $ 3.5 trillion bill known as the Build Back Better Act. This legislation would expand the child tax credit and Medicare’s ability to cover eye, hearing and dental care, fund community college and universal preschool initiatives, fight climate change, and fund health programs. elderly care and paid leave. The $ 3.5 trillion bill would be paid, at least in part, by tax increases primarily on corporations and the wealthy.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN the infrastructure deal should be “undone” and lambasted Pelosi’s efforts to secure a deal late at night.
“It’s an absurd way to do business, to negotiate a multibillion dollar bill minutes before a major vote with hardly anyone knowing what’s going on,” Sanders said. “This is unacceptable. And I think what has to happen is that tonight the bipartisan infrastructure bill has to be defeated. And we can sit down and find a way to pass both laws. “
Progressives have said they will withhold their support for the bipartisan infrastructure package until moderates strike a deal with them on the Build Back Better Act. Washington State Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told CNN she was not worried that her fellow Liberals would break ranks.
The position of the moderates today: Pelosi’s efforts to pass the infrastructure bill today were complicated by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who on Thursday said he would support a much smaller $ 1.5 trillion bill. dollars expanding the social safety net; and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The two moderate Senate Democrats met for about 45 minutes Thursday night as they tried to find a way forward on infrastructure plans and build back better.
With a divided Senate and a slim hold over the House, Democrats are leveraging their power to ensure their colleagues support their bills, which constitute Biden’s national agenda.
What happens after: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed in a statement that the House “will remain on vacation subject to the Speaker’s call on that same legislative day of September 30 and will meet in earlier at 9:30 am tomorrow morning “.
MEPs are “further informed” that the House is expected to “complete consideration” of the infrastructure bill tomorrow.
A White House official said they also expect talks to continue tomorrow on the broader social spending plan.