“On September 27, pursuant to the rule passed in August, the House will consider the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was passed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis last month. This legislation would create millions of good jobs all across America by investing in critical infrastructure projects.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made that announcement on Friday, signaling that Democratic leaders intend to keep Speaker Pelosi’s promise to hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by that date, regardless of the status of the Democratic-only social spending and climate bill.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn reiterated that vow on Sunday, putting all three top House Democrats on the record that a vote will take place one week from today: “Are we going to work to get to our goal for September 27? Yes. … We’ll do what's necessary to get there.”
We are working hard to finish the Build Back Better act and have a successful vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill by September 27. pic.twitter.com/wWTAl6taGp
— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) September 19, 2021
But Pelosi promised to do more than just call a vote. She vowed to “rally House Democratic support” for the legislation — which will be essential. Politico reports Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) says more than half of the 96 members of the House Progressive Caucus have “privately indicated they’re willing to block the bipartisan Senate bill” as leverage to also pass the multi-trillion-dollar social spending package.
Pelosi needs to get her caucus on board. While progressives are gambling that they can get both bills passed, Politico says President Biden “could end up with nothing.”
The votes simply do not exist for the $3.5 trillion bill progressives seek. Axios says Biden “failed to persuade” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package” during a meeting last week – and the votes of Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will be needed to pass anything. Politico says Sinema has told the president she will not back reconciliation if the infrastructure bill does not pass, and Punchbowl reports that “House Democratic moderates have been privately back-channeling” with the two senators on strategy.
But this is about more than political gamesmanship and whether the president and his party get a “win.” It’s about real people’s lives.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) writes in the Wall Street Journal, “The devastation left by Hurricane Ida has brought the national debate about America’s dilapidated infrastructure into clearer perspective. … Without effective, safe and secure infrastructure, there is no foundation to rebuild, and economic growth is difficult to achieve.” The infrastructure bill makes “investments our communities and economy need. Conservatives should want government to make these sorts of investments.”
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) September 18, 2021
House members of both parties can and should come together to pass the popular, practical bipartisan infrastructure bill on September 27. It’s a chance for a two-party endorsement of vitally needed commonsense spending that would prove legislators can get the people’s business done.