Still Unbreakable

The Unbreakable Nine continue to live up to their name.

Speaker Pelosi had expected to advance both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the one-party $3.5 trillion social spending and climate plan in a Monday evening vote. But the nine Democrats demanding a standalone vote on infrastructure first did not give in. House Democrats will gather again this morning, and the leadership is now aiming for a vote at noon.

Politico reports that the Nine “have come under intense criticism from their fellow Democrats over their demands for an infrastructure bill vote before they approve the budget. But they’ve held together and even expanded their ranks” as Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) “publicly became their 10th member. … One thing is for sure: House Democratic leaders grossly underestimated” the group.

Politico says Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) “went from ‘amateur hour’ to man of the hour. He was at the center of attention trying to strike a deal all night. And he planted a flag in the ground for the fights to come as Democrats haggle over the details of the reconciliation package.”

Gottheimer told The Atlantic, “I’ve heard from a lot of Democrats who are not part of the Nine, who have said to me this is exactly right: There’s no reason why we, when we have this historic once-in-a-century infrastructure package in front of us out of the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote, shouldn’t immediately bring it to the floor and vote on it as soon as possible. The president himself tweeted the day it was passed, ‘Send it to my desk as soon as possible.’”

The House group is getting backup in the Senate. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are saying the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate bill is just too big. Politico reports Manchin “leaned on Pelosi and House leaders to act now on the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill instead of waiting for the Senate to pass a massive spending bill,” while a Sinema spokesperson said the infrastructure bill “should be considered on its own merits.”

That’s what the public thinks as well. A new HarrisX poll finds that three out of four Americans back separate votes — and that seven out of 10 would prefer the infrastructure bill to the bigger budget plan if only one could pass.

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