(HorizonPost.com) – At the end of July, Republicans and Democrats worked together to negotiate and pass a bipartisan $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill to repair roads and bridges, enhance broadband coverage, and improve water systems across the US. But when the bill reached the other side of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to tie the legislation to a much larger $3.5-trillion infrastructure budget reconciliation instead of bringing it straight to the floor.
House Members React
That move upset a group of Moderate Democrats in the House who vowed to tank the budget plan unless Pelosi let them first vote on the smaller bill. But the House Speaker dug in her heels, standing by her strategy to force the passage of both infrastructure bills at the same time.
However, the nine center-left legislators, coined the “Mod Squad,” still demanded a vote. So, the seasoned leader had no choice but to meet with them to compromise on a deal.
Following some internal back and forth, the House Speaker and Moderate Democrats came to an agreement. Pelosi promised to hold a vote for the bipartisan bill by September 27, and the holdouts agreed to vote for the $3.5-trillion budget plan.
That means if all goes well, by the end of September, $4.7 trillion will go toward improving American infrastructure. That same day, President Joe Biden praised Pelosi for her leadership and skills to bring his economic plan closer to reality.
But will she now have another side to negotiate with? It may be progressive Democrats in the House.
Progressives have been worried that if the historic bipartisan legislation passes before the budget, they won’t be able to push through programs sitting in the $3.5-trillion package. Their goal is to appease the right with bipartisanship while slipping a liberal-leaning agenda through the budget without needing support from Republicans.
In fact, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted on August 24 what could happen if the reconciliation bill doesn’t pass, ending his tweet with, “No reconciliation bill, no deal.” He’s referring to the reconciliation package, which includes legislation to expand Medicare, offer universal pre-K, climate provisions, investments in affordable housing, and child care for working families.
Many Republicans may remain unhappy about the prospect of having little say in an infrastructure plan nearly three times the size of their negotiated $1.2-trillion program package.
But with a seemingly divided nation watching every move the federal government makes, perhaps Democrats and Republicans alike should be proud if they can work out such a large piece of bipartisan legislation for the benefit of the American people they serve.
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