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Tipsheet

Defeat: 'Master Negotiator' Pelosi Fails to Secure Dem Support for Infrastructure Vote as Promised Thursday

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Dragging late into the evening Thursday, negotiations between progressive caucus members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the White House ultimately failed to reach a conclusion that allowed Pelosi to bring the $1.2 trillion bill to the floor for a vote on September 30 as she'd insisted she would. 

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After an evening recess that kept getting extended, Pelosi sent a "dear colleague" letter that provided slim to no details and didn't offer any timeline for an eventual vote on the infrastructure package despite her assurances there would be a vote on Thursday. 

"The clock just struck nine in the evening of a very productive in crucial day," Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues after apparently failing to be productive enough to secure the support necessary to pass the infrastructure bill. 

"Thanks to every house Democrat, we passed and sent to the President the Continuing Resolution to keep government open to meet our responsibilities and the needs of the American people," but only until December 3rd. 

"It has been a day of progress in fulfilling the President's vision to Build Back Better," Pelosi continued despite again not making enough progress to actually get infrastructure approved by her chamber. "Thanks to so many Members and staff, the work is being done," but apparently not enough to keep her promise to hold a vote on Thursday. 

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"Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill," Pelosi explained without offering much of a hint as to the future of the infrastructure bill. All she had to say about the bipartisan infrastructure bill was that it "has already had its rule passed and its debate has concluded," although the bill itself still has not been passed. 

Taking an overly optimistic tone given Thursday's defeat, Pelosi stated that "all of this momentum brings us closer to shaping the reconciliation bill in a manner that will pass the House and Senate."

The failure to close the deal is a significant defeat not just for Pelosi but also for President Biden who desperately needs a success to tout after a number of crises left him on the ropes when it comes to job approval among the American people. With the 2022 midterms just over one year away, this latest defeat threatens to further endanger Nancy Pelosi's razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives. 

At the beginning of the week, Pelosi had made her intentions to pass both Biden's infrastructure and the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package through her chamber. "September 30 is a date fraught with meaning," Pelosi wrote to her colleagues on Saturday. "This week, we must pass a continuing resolution, Build Back Better Act and the BIF." 

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As Pelosi and her leadership team in the House was unsuccessfully working to secure enough support to pass infrastructure, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said "tonight the bipartisan infrastructure bill must be defeated" so that "we can sit down and work out a way to pass both pieces of legislation," one of several voices that presumably led progressive Democrats in the house to withhold their support that was necessary for Pelosi to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

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