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Infrastructure Bill Vote Delayed
Washington, D.C. – House Democrats postponed a vote on a roughly $1 trillion proposal to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure on Thursday in a reversal following hours of negotiations and a significant setback for President Biden’s economic agenda.
The decision came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders worked late into the night to mend schisms within their own moderate and liberal ranks, where mutual distrust turned the public-works bill into a political bargaining chip in a fight over the full range of new spending sought by Biden.
The Democratic impasse stems from a second, roughly $3.5 trillion package that proposes expanding Medicare, combating climate change, and bolstering federal safety-net programs, all of which would be funded through tax increases on the wealthy and corporations.
To protect the initiative from centrists, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), liberals threatened to oppose the infrastructure bill that the moderate duo helped negotiate in the first place.
The House began debating the infrastructure bill on Monday, as Pelosi sought to fulfill a promise she made to her party’s moderates to avert an earlier revolt.
These House centrists, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), have recently demonstrated a measure of confidence, believing that the speaker can still whip the votes — and that some Democrats are largely bluffing when they say they will vote against the president’s agenda.
Liberal-leaning lawmakers, on the other hand, had requested delays and blasted Thursday’s scheduled vote as arbitrary, as they hoped to finalize the second spending package — and perhaps even secure a Senate vote on the measure.
However, doing so risked inciting a centrist rebellion, prompting some moderates to issue their own stark warnings to Pelosi as tensions grew.