- The Washington Times
Friday, September 24, 2021

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on Friday said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is doomed to fail in a vote scheduled for Monday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set the vote to appease her more moderate members but risks mass defections on the left flank.

“It cannot pass,” said Ms. Jayapal, Washington Democrat. “I don’t bluff. I don’t grandstand. We just don’t have the votes for it.”

Underscoring the political gauntlet facing President Biden’s massive spending bills, Ms. Jayapal said that half of the caucus’ 50 members currently are “a hard no” on the infrastructure bill.

Getting them to vote yes, Ms. Jayapal said, would take a promise “signed in blood” from moderate Senate Democrats to support the $3.5 trillion expansion of the social safety net, which is the left’s top priority.

What’s more, she said the number of far-left House Democrats willing to scuttle the bipartisan bill “is growing.”

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, promised moderates that the chamber will vote on the infrastructure bill no later than on Monday. She said Friday that the House will also vote on the bigger bill next week, though details of the $3.5 trillion bill are not finalized.

“That’s the plan,” she said.

Far-left Democrats want to use the infrastructure bill as leverage to force more moderate Senate Democrats to pass the larger bill, which is a liberal wishlist of new anti-poverty, education, health care and clime change programs.

Ms. Jayapal worries that if the House passes the $1.2 trillion package, there would be no reason for moderate Senate Democrats like Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona would then go along with passing the liberal spending spree.

Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema have said they will not support the $3.5 trillion price tag.

“So far there’s been no reason to trust that what they say is actually what they’re gonna do,” Ms. Jayapal said.

That leaves the House’s far left no option but to block the bipartisan bill, which includes traditional infrastructure projects for roads, bridges, railways and airports.

Ms. Jayapal dared Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema to offer a trimmed-down version of the social welfare spending.

“We’ve been waiting for weeks for people to tell us not what they’re not going to vote for,” she said. “Well, what do you want to cut? You want to cut child care. Let’s tell the American people you want to cut child care.”

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