The “Noble Nine,” the nine House Democrats calling for a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, have a simple position: Let’s pass this popular and essential bill now, amp up job creation, and start vitally needed upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure before the leaves start to turn.
President Biden agrees with them. But Speaker Pelosi is still refusing to schedule a vote on a bill that sailed through the Senate with 69 votes in favor.
House Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) told CNBC, “This is critically important that we get this done, and that we don’t wait months and risk squandering this opportunity. You’re talking about two million jobs a year, fixing roads, bridges, rail. … What we fear is if we wait months, this will never get done. The president said when the Senate passed this incredible bipartisan piece of legislation…‘Let’s get it to my desk as soon as possible.’ We believe the path forward here is, let’s vote on this.”
But Punchbowl says Gottheimer “is in a staring contest with his leadership. He and eight other Democratic lawmakers have demanded a vote on infrastructure before they consider voting yes on the budget.” Pelosi “isn’t backing down on her plan to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote only after the Senate passes the reconciliation bill. … They’re in a showdown now.”
NBC says Pelosi “faces a tightening squeeze” between moderates and progressives. Fox News says the nine moderates are “outnumbered by the progressives, but they have the leverage, if they stick together, to block the budget resolution.”
Right now, Pelosi does not have the votes to go forward her way, ramming through the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate plan on a party-line vote, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill along for the ride. The Noble Nine are not going along.
But the two-party infrastructure bill on its own can pass now — and as in the Senate, it can do so as bipartisan legislation.
Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) told MSNBC, “I think it’s fair to say that all Republicans within the Problem Solvers Caucus are ‘in play.’ Whether they vote yes or no is largely going to be dependent on [whether it is] connected or not to a larger package which we do not support.”
WATCH: Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Rep. Fitzpatrick says GOP in his caucus are “in play” for infrastructure. #MTPDaily@RepBrianFitz: “Whether they vote yes or no is largely going to be dependent on … is it connected or not to a larger package which we do not support.” pic.twitter.com/SZB4S6gmGr
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 16, 2021
The Noble Nine and the Problem Solvers are offering a clear path forward, for both a president who could notch an immediate win and for a country that is in desperate need of infrastructure action. It’s up to Pelosi now.
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