Delay of House Vote on Infrastructure Bill as Democrats Feud

WASHINGTON-President Biden’s trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure plan suffered a significant setback late Thursday night when House Democratic leaders, lacking support amid a liberal uprising, has pushed a planned vote away from an important plank of their domestic agenda.

Democratic leaders and supporters of the bill insisted the postponement was only a temporary shortcoming. The infrastructure vote is again set for Friday, giving them more time to reach agreement on a broad -based climate change and social safety bill that will bring liberals.

But such a deal came a long way, and the delay was an embarrassing blow to Mr. Biden and Democrats, who spent several days working to broker an agreement between their party’s disputes and correcting the votes that required to pass the infrastructure bill. The president has established his reputation as a deal maker with the success of both public works and a more ambitious social media bill, whose fate is uncertain in a Congress marred by separate parties and internal strife. Democratic.

Given the distance between the party’s left and a few centrists on that larger charge, it’s unclear when or even if there will be votes – and if Mr Biden’s economic agenda can be revived.

The House and Senate passed – and Mr. Biden signed – legislation to fund the government until Dec. 3, with more than $ 28 billion in disaster assistance and $ 6.3 billion to help relocate refugees from Afghanistan. That would not prevent the immediate financial threat of a government shutdown, clearing an item on the Democrats ’to-do list, even within two months.

But that little achievement was filled by the article presented to the president’s party.

The infrastructure move, which will provide $ 550 billion in new funding, should burn down Mr. Biden’s bipartisan bona fides. It will allocate $ 65 billion to expand the speed of internet access; $ 110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects; $ 25 billion for airports; and the most funding for Amtrak since the passenger rail service was established in 1971. It will also begin the transition to electric vehicles with new charging stations and an electric grid wall needed to enable those cars.

But progressive leaders have said for weeks they will oppose it until they see the legal action they really want – a massive bill with paid family leave, universal prekindergarten, Medicare expansion and strong measures. to combat climate change.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top members of Mr. Biden’s team worked late into the night at the Capitol to strike an agreement that could allow the passage of a broad public measure, which Approved by the Senate in August with great fanfare. But despite cajoling, pleading and arm-twisting, the most liberal member of the House could not move; Republicans have remained more than a confined step behind their leaders ’efforts to kill the bill.

“No one should be surprised that we were there, because we told you that in three and a half months,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat and head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The problem for Mr. Biden is that the price of liberals for their vote on infrastructure – The Senate’s passage of the political proposal – is starting to drift out of reach.

Conservative-leaning Democrats made it clearer on Thursday that they could not actually support a package anywhere close to the size Mr. Biden proposed. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III told reporters he wanted a bill to spend no more than $ 1.5 trillion, less than half the size of the package Democrats saw in their budget blueprint.

“I’m trying to make sure they understand that I’m at 1.5 trillion,” Mr. Manchin told reporters Thursday night, from the office of Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and leader of the majority, where he was meeting to White House officials. “I don’t see a deal tonight – I really don’t.”

Shortly afterwards, House leaders said the plans for the infrastructure vote, which Ms. Pelosi who all day is still on the path, will wait.

Mr. Manchin spoke about his position after a memo detailing it published in Politico on Thursday.

The document points to ways beyond total spending. Included in his request to request means testing any new social programs to keep them targeted at the poor; a major initiative in the treatment of opioid addictions that plagued his state; control of shaping a clean energy provision that, by definition, is aimed at coal, a major mainstay of West Virginia; and ensured that nothing in the bill would eliminate the production and burning of fossil fuels – a demand that is sure to infuriate advocates of the fight against climate change.

With provisions to pay for the package, Mr. Manchin is more in line with other Democrats, who support several rollbacks of tax cuts during Trump’s 2017 era, including raising the corporate tax rate in 25 per cent, from 21 per cent; setting a leading individual income tax rate of 39.6 percent, up from 37 percent; and increasing the tax rate on capital gains to 28 percent, another big help.

But that tax agreement contradicts the position of another Democratic holding, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Cinema, who told colleagues she opposes such a significant tax rate increase.

Made by Ms. Pelosi, 81, has his reputation as a master legislator and experienced deal-maker, but more importantly, he doesn’t want to call a vote on any bill unless he’s sure it will pass. In this case, he faced a problem: He promised nine moderate and conservative Democrats that he would put the infrastructure vote to a vote before the end of September, and some of those nine said pulling the measure law from the consideration may damage their confidence in him

But the speaker also doesn’t want to see it vote. In the end, he decided it would be better for the president’s agenda to fix it.

The decision took place after Ms. Pelosi hailed his reputation as a legislative powerhouse on the line, claiming he told leading Democrats that social policy and climate measures were “the height of my career in Congress.”

Susan E. Rice, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, gathered for the evening with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer’s aides, who closed the Capitol’s capitol as they tried to hammer out a framework of social policy that could satisfy warring groups.

Now, in order to save both pieces of his economic agenda, Mr. Biden is likely to ensure bigger and harder, climate change and social policy charges.

Some Democrats saw Mr. Manchin’s memo as at least a starting point for negotiations that were established in the absence of a clear signal from him or Ms. Cinema about what they can accept.

Mr. Manchin said he knew Mr. Biden was his top number in the last few days, about two months after he and Mr. Schumer both signed the memo acknowledging Mr. Manchin’s stance.

His comments on Thursday were his foremost about what he would like to see in the social policy plan, which Democrats hope to push by using a quick process known as budget consensus that saves financial law from a filibuster. Democrats are trying to pass the package to the united Republican opposition, meaning they can’t withhold even one vote in the equally divided Senate.

Mr. Schumer, who signed the agreement as he worked to persuade Mr. Manchin to support the party’s budget blueprint, apparently scrawled, “I’ll try to dissuade Joe from many of these” under his signature.

On Thursday, a spokesman stressed that Mr. Schumer did not consider this.

“As the document notes, Leader Schumer never agreed to any of the conditions laid down by Senator Manchin; he only acknowledged where Senator Manchin was on the subject at the time,” said Justin Goodman, the spokesman.

Also on Thursday, the office of Ms. Cinema that he would not “negotiate with the press” but informed Mr. Biden and Mr. Schumer of his priorities and concerns.

Caught in the middle was the infrastructure bill, negotiated by Republican and Democratic senators, pushed by the nation’s largest business groups and widely supported in polls by voters of both parties.

The question now is whether the postponed vote will upset moderate supporters that they have lowered the priority of liberals. Some centrist Democrats who pressed for speedy passage of the measure were angry at the delay.

“When the Iowans tell me they’re sick of the Washington games, that’s what they mean,” Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat of Iowa, said in a statement. “Instead of moving forward with a piece of the comprehensive agenda we’ve been doing over the past six months, some in my party are being forced to wait for us to put shovels in the ground and pass on the largest rural broadband investment in U.S. history until with every piece of our agenda ready. “

He added, “All-once or nothing is no way to manage.”

But the progressives cheered the procrastination on, declaring their hardball tactics successful.

“When I announced my campaign for Congress, I said I was running because Democrats should fight harder for the things we say we believe in,” Mondaire Jones, a New York Democrat, said. write on Twitter shortly after the delay was announced. He said he was “extremely arrogant” to be among the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, “making certain of that.”

Madeleine Ngo, Luke Broadwater at Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

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