Is Pelosi Ready for the Infrastructure Endgame?

It’s endgame for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

This week began with Speaker Pelosi punting the promised Monday vote on the bill until Thursday because she feared she did not have 218 votes. And then yesterday evening came an even more consequential step as the Speaker dropped her insistence that the infrastructure bill could not pass until the separate $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill passed too.

Pelosi and the Unbreakable Nine are now on the same page: Let’s get this infrastructure bill done. But will enough progressives come along? And can Pelosi count on enough GOP votes to make up for any defection on the left? That’s one of the big questions this week. Another: What exactly has Joe Biden been doing to get this top priority passed?

On Monday, Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA), Ed Case (D-HI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jared Golden (D-ME), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Filemon Vela (D-TX) issued a joint statement: “This bill is a huge win for the American people, and one we have proudly worked on for months with our House and Senate colleagues from both parties. … It’s time to send the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to the President’s desk for his signature.” The Nine are sticking together.

Said Gottheimer on MSNBC, “As far as I’m concerned, all of this is a great win for the American people. We’ve got to get this done. This bipartisan infrastructure bill passed out of the Senate with 69 senators back in early August, it’s been sitting in the House waiting for our consideration, it’s got Democrats and Republicans behind it, both in the Senate and the House.”

As for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), who co-chairs the House Problem Solvers Caucus with Gottheimer and who publicly supports the bill, he told Fox News, “This bill, in a show of bipartisanship out of the Senate, passed going on two months ago. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell both support it. The Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and AFL-CIO all support it, and yet it’s inexplicably being held hostage for a separate bill that the majority of the country does not want.” But now, fortunately Pelosi appears to have called bluff on the hostage demand.

Punchbowl says Pelosi now plans “to muscle the infrastructure bill through the House Thursday regardless of where negotiations with the Senate on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package stand.” However, not all progressives are on board. To get to 218, Pelosi will need more Republicans than have publicly committed so far. That means Biden needs to turn his bipartisan rhetoric into reality, and start reaching out to Republicans and his fellow Democrats.

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