What is likely be the surest commitment yet that the House may actually be able to pass the infrastructure bill tonight came from a statement by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
It's been a long and confusing day in the land of Democratic disarray and disunity. Despite the very real possibility that progressives could band together to vote down the infrastructure bill, thus denying President Joe Biden a much needed win, Democratic leadership claimed a vote would still be taking place on Friday. Live updates from The Hill noted even Biden himself was making phone calls to secure the votes.
Also on Friday evening, another report from The Hill claimed that "Liberals, moderates strike deal on Biden agenda, clearing way for votes."
As the piece began:
Warring progressive and moderate House Democrats agreed to a cease fire on Friday night, clearing the way for votes on key pieces of President Biden’s stalled domestic agenda after a day of chaos and confusion on Capitol Hill.
The eleventh-hour deal between the Congressional Progressive Caucus, moderate Blue Dog Democrats and Congressional Black Caucus would allow the House to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and send it to Biden’s desk, as well as pass a rule setting up a future vote on Biden’s $1.75 trillion social and climate spending package.
The three-way agreement calls for a written commitment that moderates will vote for Biden’s $1.75 trillion social and climate spending package if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill is in line with White House estimates. The statement would be backed by Biden.
CNN's Manu Raju has also been tweeting updates from Capitol Hill, which includes assurances from individual members but also some doubts.
Moderates issue statement offering commitments on Build Back Better bill. Will this be enough to get infrastructure to 218 votes ? pic.twitter.com/HvBv9FrU8G— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 6, 2021
Pramila Jayapal expressed skepticism during CPC meeting about assurances from the moderates that they would vote for BBB assuming CBO shows its costs are fully offset, per source— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 6, 2021
Other skeptics of the moderate assurances included Reps. Cori Bush and Ilhan Omar, the source said
In fact, to get enough votes, Raju suggested, Democrats may to depend on Republicans voting in favor. GOP leadership is whipping against the bill.
It’s still unclear if there are 218 votes to pass infrastructure bill.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 6, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez, Bush and Omar indicated to progressive caucus members they may be NO votes, and some others are uncertain m
What’s unclear is if there will be enough R votes to offset Dem defections.
While it seemed also certain that the votes would be delayed due to both moderates and progressives taking issue with the way leadership was handling the bill, The Hill reported on Friday afternoon that the vote will take place after all.
"Democratic leaders in the House say they are moving forward with a vote Friday on the bipartisan infrastructure measure, despite opposition from progressives who say it should not get a vote until the House is also ready to vote on a separate, broader social spending and climate measure," a live update from the outlet read at 4:35pm.
CNN's Manu Raju also tweeted confirming as much.
Pelosi says they still are planning to have a vote on rule and infrastructure bill tonight - and have a separate vote later on passage of Build Back Better once CBO comes back with numbers before Thanksgiving. Week of 15th. Progressives oppose this— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
It looks like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may want to prepare to deal with a loss on her hands, though. As Raju tweeted a short time ago, as he has been tweeting throughout the day, progressives are ready and willing to kill the infrastructure bill. They have consistently said throughout this process that they want reconciliation and infrastructure to be voted on together.
After Jayapal asked for a show of hands of those who would not back the infrastructure bill tonight, roughly 20 progressives raised their hands, per source.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
Hearing progressives are not moved and prepared to call Pelosi’s bluff and vote down infrastructure bill. They’re meeting now.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
These infrastructure and spending bill agenda items that are considered oh so important for President Joe Biden have been delayed for months. The vote was supposed to take place on Friday, as Townhall reported, though Friday did not bring a vote. Rather it has brought delays and disarray and extreme confusion.
CNN's Manu Raju had tweeted moments ago that "[u]nless one side caves," the "best bet" is those bills will pass the House by end of November. We have been expecting votes and experiencing delays since September.
In short, Pelosi’s strategy to pass both bills today has all but collapsed. Unless one side caves, best bet is both bills will now pass the House by end of November.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden for some reason though it would be a good idea to expect members to vote on these bills without a CBO score. It's not just Republicans, who are unified in their opposition against the spending bill and who are being whipped to vote against when it comes to infrastructure, who took issue.
A brief "Dear Colleague" letter from Pelosi stressed this necessary win for Biden. "In order to make progress on the President’s vision, it is important that we advance the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and the Build Back Better Act today," the letter in part read.
As live updates from The New York Times mentioned earlier today, that Biden made an appeal to House members, asking them to pass the bills. "Passing these bills will say clearly to the American people: We hear your voices. We’re going to invest in your hopes," he said while addressing the October jobs report at the White House.
Earlier this afternoon, Katie noted in her reporting that "If Democrats who want a CBO score hold the line, the vote won't take place today." She highlighted tweets from Raju mentioning moderates such as Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME).
CBO score remains the last remaining hurdle to getting a vote today. Hoyer said there would not be a CBO score today.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
“It could not be done today,” he said of a cost estimate. https://t.co/IRFlmhf6D4
Live updates from The Hill noted that Pelosi had met with such members.
Raju has tweeted more on the situation since then.
Leadership is pressing ahead with this strategy — but unclear if they have the votes to get it done. Also all signs pointing to a punt of final vote of Build Back Better til later. Potentially after CBO score. 4:30p vote on rule, followed by infrastructure bill https://t.co/wk8oKxy7V8— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
The refusal to rush into this is coming from both moderates who want the CBO score and progressives. In fact, the progressives are sticking to the argument they've stuck to this entire time, which is that infrastructure and the spending bill must be voted on together. And, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-CA), who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has insisted that there are enough progressives who will vote to kill infrastructure.
Congressional Progressive Caucus rejects Pelosi’s plan. “If our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together.” This means that votes on both bills could be delayed til later Nov. pic.twitter.com/1tU7vmFD6J— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
Raju cites a progressive member, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) as being in "dismay" over the strategy that Pelosi thinks progressives will all of a sudden change their mind.
“I’ve consistently said that if the BIF comes to us as a standalone vote, separated from the Build Back Better Act, I’m a hard no,” Huffman said. “Why anyone would think that has changed is beyond me.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 5, 2021
Keep in mind that Raju referred to end of November as a "best bet." A CBO score, something that shouldn't exactly be rushed, will take time and may not come until after Thanksgiving. This would potentially push the vote not just to the end of November, but perhaps early December.