“A Great Once-in-a-Century Opportunity to Move Forward”

The popular bipartisan infrastructure bill — providing investment in roads, rail, water, broadband, and much more — can become law now. Or it can be held up for months, and might not even pass.

President Biden has a choice to make, and yesterday he didn’t make the right one.

Biden said as recently as Saturday that he wants the House to pass the infrastructure bill as soon as possible, creating jobs and getting much-needed upgrades underway. But he is now siding with Speaker Pelosi, saying the bill should be tied to the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate legislation that has no Republican support.

Biden’s move makes it less likely that the infrastructure bill will become law. House Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) said Monday “that there are likely enough GOP votes for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to overcome the number” of progressives who are against such a standalone vote. But if the bill is paired with the $3.5 trillion spending bill, Republicans will bolt and Pelosi will have to scrape up 218 votes entirely among Democrats. She can’t afford to lose more than three members of her caucus.

That’s upping the pressure on the Unbreakable Nine — the nine House Democrats who want a vote on infrastructure now. With Biden’s shift, they are now standing alone against the entire Democratic establishment. Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)  told The Hill “his group is standing firm with its demand that Pelosi bring the infrastructure bill to the floor first, which would secure a quick, bipartisan victory for Biden.”

This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gottheimer said, “I think the actual solution is pretty simple here. We vote first on this historic bipartisan infrastructure package, get it done. And as you know, it’s out of the Senate now, supported by not just 19 Republicans, but by labor and by the Chamber of Commerce. It’s a great once-in-a-century opportunity to move forward here, and we should do what the Senate did — vote first on infrastructure, and then move immediately to begin considering reconciliation.”

Under the Democratic leadership’s strategy, Punchbowl says, a Senate vote on the bigger bill “won’t be until October, at the earliest” — which means Pelosi’s gambit would push back potential adoption of the infrastructure bill for months. The AP reports that Gottheimer, “one of the maverick moderates, said Congress ‘cannot afford to wait months’ to approve the infrastructure measure.”

This is a defining moment for our movement that will determine whether two-party solutions are possible, and whether the center can finally take back the initiative from the extremes on both sides. The Unbreakable Nine are holding the line, and need all the support they can get.

Also…

·       Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence and No Labels Legal Board Member, on Afghanistan: “With lives on the line and American wisdom, values and tenacity on the line, it is not the time for finger-pointing and partisan attacks, but for bold action and bipartisan resolve.”

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