Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached a deal on Tuesday with vulnerable House Democrats over holding an initial vote on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion expansion of America’s social safety net.
Mrs. Pelosi, a California Democrat, hammered out the compromise with the moderate Democrats led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. In exchange for backing a resolution needed to kick-start drafting of the $3.5 trillion package, Mrs. Pelosi agreed to hold a vote next month on the recently passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal.
The vote is expected later Tuesday.
“The nine of us wanted to have a separate guaranteed vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package that we think is the largest infrastructure investment we’ve seen in American decades,” said Rep. Jim Costa of California, one of the moderate Democrats.
Mr. Costa said that he and his colleagues had secured a “de-linking” of the two packages.
For months, Mrs. Pelosi has pledged that the House will not take up the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes the larger social welfare package.
Democrats have dubbed the $3.5 trillion bill “human infrastructure” as a complement to the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that focuses on road, bridges and airport projects.
The bigger bill amounts to a wish list of liberal priorities — addressing items such as climate change, amnesty for illegal immigrants, tuition-free community college and expanded health care. It would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
Since the $3.5 trillion package is unlikely to garner Republican support, Democrats plan to pass it in the Senate via budget reconciliation. The process allows some spending measures to avoid the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold and pass with a simple majority of 51 votes.
Likewise, within the House, the package is unlikely to garner any GOP votes. That reality coupled with Democrats’ narrow margin in the House, meant that Mrs. Pelosi can only lose the votes of three Democrats on any given legislation.
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