Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were forced over the weekend to huddle up and then call a “time out” on moving forward with Joe Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” tax-and-print-and-spend package. They bought some breathing space by moving their self-imposed deadline for House action to the end of the month.
Pelosi issued a letter to House members announcing the new deadline of October 31 for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure previously passed by the Senate with 19 Republican votes. She claimed that more time is needed to get that bill passed along with the massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation spending bill proposed by the Biden administration.
Pelosi sets a new deadline for the bipartisan infrastructure bill: "There is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline… We must pass BIF well before then – the sooner the better." pic.twitter.com/7mJBMtFkv3
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 2, 2021
In her letter, Pelosi tied the new deadline to the expiration of the short-term reauthorization of the funding of federal highway programs. The House passed a 30-day extension of that limited funding last week, and it will require a new vote for an extension by the same October 31 deadline.
The House Progressive Caucus has repeatedly said that it will not have its dozens of members vote on the infrastructure bill until it is presented in conjunction with the reconciliation bill as a package.
Schumer wrote on Monday that the bulk of Democrats and the progressive wing could “get this done” if both sides “find common ground” inside the Democratic Party. He signaled that not every lawmaker would get everything they wanted.
Pelosi was forced to move the deadline she had set for last Thursday to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which had come as a result of a deal she reached with a group of “moderate” Democrats led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). That agreement inflamed the radical leftists in the House Progressive Caucus led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who issued the request to Pelosi regarding packaging infrastructure with budget reconciliation.
Pelosi struggles with moving deadlines and party disagreements while maintaining her public posture that she will “never bring a bill to the floor” that she is unsure will pass.