Drama: Will Pelosi Yank Today's Infrastructure Vote?

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Posted: Sep 30, 2021 11:45 AM
Drama: Will Pelosi Yank Today's Infrastructure Vote?

Three options, from where I sit: (1) Put the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote on the House floor, and it passes.  President signs it.  Figure out reconciliation next.  (2) Put 'BIF' to a vote on the House floor, and it fails.  Lick wounds, regroup. (3) Pull and postpone the vote, knowing it would fail.  Lick wounds, regroup.  As a point of pride, Pelosi doesn't lose floor votes.  If the vote is happening, she's already won it.  That's been the rule of thumb for years.  But this time might be different.  The first option above is still possible today, but it's looking pretty far-fetched at this stage.  A decent handful of Republicans appear willing to join a significant number of their Senate GOP colleagues in voting for the bipartisan measure on infrastructure spending, but those gains could be offset by dozens of progressives vowing to shoot it down if they don't get their way on the separate, partisan reconciliation push.  And it would very much appear as though...they're not about to get their way in the immediate future:


Sen. Manchin says he's a hard no on the trillions (plural) in new spending, will personally kill any bill that funds abortion with taxpayer dollars (unlike Joe Biden, he hasn't flip-flopped on this issue), and doused the prospect of a breakthrough today in cold water.  The House could move independently without a deal in place, of course, but progressives remain very worried about what the Senate would do to pare back their designs.  And more than a few House Democrats share some or all of Manchin's concerns.  So unless the leftists are bluffing and their opposition collapses in rapid and humiliating fashion -- destroying their credibility in future leverage plays -- the likelihood of a successful infrastructure vote today seems relatively remote.  Pelosi is putting on a brave face for now, and maybe she has something up her sleeve, but this doesn't exactly exude confidence:


Onto option two.  Perhaps Pelosi wants to demonstrate to her members that failure really is an option if they don't suck it up and get on the same page.  You may not like everything about our plan, but how does this big loss taste?  In other words, she might call the vote knowing it will go down, just to make a point to her caucus.  Nothing is barring Democrats from trying again, so perhaps a painful and embarrassing setback could clarify some of the calculus.  Get the tantrum out of their system, then press ahead, result uncertain.  On the other hand, she loathes losing under any circumstances, and attaching the stench of failure to a political project can be perilous.  Which brings us to option three.  She uses every tool in her toolbox, keeps hope alive as long as possible, then counts the votes and realizes it's cooked.  She pulls the plug and punts into the future.  Better to keep "discussions" ongoing than suffer a high-profile loss in a Democrat-controlled chamber.  Remember, a punt isn't a permanent defeat on BIF + reconciliation, but it would certainly be unpleasant for Democrats.

Today's vote -- for now -- is still on.  If I were a betting man, I'd place 70 percent of my chips on option three, 20 percent on option two, and 10 percent on option one.  I'm interested by Pelosi hinting heavily that getting some version of this one-two punch passed into law may represent her swan song in Congress, or at least leadership, amping up pressure by framing the mission as one of personal loyalty:  


But could this messaging potentially have the opposite effect with some recalcitrant members, signaling that she's planning to exit stage left soon -- so crossing her becomes less risky?  I'll leave you with Madame Speaker engaged in an energetic conversation during last night's Congressional baseball game (which Republicans won).  I suspect she isn't discussing whether to bunt runners into scoring position:


UPDATE - Hmm:


UPDATE II -  If Democrats end up getting something in the coming weeks, and I still think they will, it'll probably look a lot more like this than what House leftists are demanding:

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