Moderates Throw House Democrats a Lifeline on Infrastructure Votes

Happy Tuesday. Today’s newsletter comes to you smack dab in the middle of infrastructure negotiations in the House, and it’s no less confusing on this side of the Capitol building than it was on the Senate side. Let’s get to the news. 

Democrats Overcome Centrist Stall of Budget Plan

The House of Representatives’ August reconvening got off to a bumpy start for Democrats this week: Instead of immediately moving forward on a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint encompassing President Joe Biden’s sweeping legislative agenda Monday, House leadership was forced to call it quits shortly after midnight after centrist Democrats revolted and refused to provide the necessary votes to ensure passage. The haggling and negotiations bled over into Tuesday, when Democrats finally reached an agreement with moderates to move forward.

The pile-up took place as the House prepared to vote, not on either of the bills themselves, but on a rule governing the floor debate under which they would be considered. This rule became a sticking point because the Democrats are divided, not over the contents of the bills in question, but over the order in which the House will take them up. Moderate Democrats wanted to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before voting on the larger budget reconciliation package that Senate Democrats passed on a party-line vote earlier this month.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to woo the centrists by promising a vote on the infrastructure package before current transportation programs expire in October. But it wasn’t until Tuesday that a specific date was promised as a concession for moderates: The House Rules Committee passed a nonbinding resolution calling for a vote on the infrastructure deal by September 27. Then, barely an hour later, the moderates decided they needed a stronger commitment, forcing the Rules Committee to meet again. This time, lawmakers negotiated a provision that made it directly into the rule itself saying the House will consider the bipartisan infrastructure bill no later than September 27.

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