No Deal: Infrastructure Vote Postponed After Progressives Refuse To Budge

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 01, 2021 - 08:22 AM

Update (2330ET): House Democrats called off a Thursday night vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package after the Progressive Caucus was unconvinced by leadership's proposed 'bicameral framework' to move forward on the legislation.

To review - House progressives have threatened to sink the Senate-passed infrastructure deal unless the moderate Democrats in the Senate agree to pass the $3.5 trillion social spending package. And with moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) refusing to vote on that legislation unless - according to Manchin - it's no more than $1.5 trillion, it appears the infrastructure deal is doomed to fail unless major changes are made.

"I don’t see a deal tonight, I really don’t," said Manchin, after leaving a meeting with White House officials and Sinema, per the Wall Street Journal. "We just—we need a little bit more time," he added.

Democrats were expected to resume their negotiations Friday after pushing off the Thursday vote on the infrastructure bill, the second time they have delayed a scheduled vote on the legislation. The bill faced opposition from liberal Democrats who don’t want to vote for it until the Senate has passed the broader social policy bill in a bid to maintain their leverage in the complex negotiations. The infrastructure bill would fund improvements to roads, bridges, ports and expanded broadband Internet access. -WSJ

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) (Photo: michael reynolds/epa/Shutterstock)

Some aides told the Journal that Manchin may be convinced to accept a $2 trillion proposal, however Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said on Thursday that most of the Democrats want a far larger package, and still plan to vote against the infrastructure bill until it's passed by the Senate.

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Update (2140ET):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Thursday night "Dear Colleague" letter that it's been a "day of progress," and that "Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill.

via Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman:

According to the LA Times' Nolan McCaskill, the infrastructure vote may happen on Friday, as a source tells him that House progressives are being presented with a "framework" as we speak.

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Update (1930ET): President Biden has signed the Continuing Resolution, averting a midnight shutdown and funding the government through Dec. 3, according to Bloomberg.

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Update (1546ET): The House has OK'd the Senate-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) by a 254-175 vote - avoid a government shutdown at midnight, after the Senate passed the stopgap spending bill 65-35.

Next stop, Biden's desk.

The bill only passed after Democrats eliminated an earlier attempt to link a suspension of the debt deiling to the bill, which was blocked by GOP senators on Monday.

It also does not include a proposed $1 billion allocation for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system pushed by GOP lawmakers. That said, the House has already passed a standalone bill to provide that funding, which the Senate may soon take up.

The move will keep the government funded until Dec. 3, after which they can bring a new Continuing Resolution (CR). It contains $28.6 billion to resettle refugees from the Afghanistan debacle.

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), her chamber will take up the bill on Thursday, where it's expected to receive overwhelming support.

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Update (1340ET): The US Senate has enough votes to pass a bill which will extend government funding through Dec. 3, averting a shutdown at midnight tonight.

The bill will next move to the House, which is expected to clear it for President Biden's signature this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Democrat's agenda remains in limbo, after Rep. Pramila Jayapal said House progressives were "in the same place" following a meeting with Speaker Pelosi regarding their refusal to vote 'yes' on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill without concurrently passing the $3.5 trillion economic blueprint.

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While Congressional Democrats are nowhere near a deal on a $3.5 trillion social spending package, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planning to move forward with a Thursday vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that's doomed to fail due to party infighting, Republicans are set to grant them a minor victory.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) predicted that the Senate would pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a partial government shutdown - suggesting that enough Republican Senators will support the Democratic measure due for a vote later in the day.

"The Continuing Resolution contains a number of key items that Republicans call for," said McConnell. "That includes supplemental funds to resettle Afghan refugees, and hurricane recovery aid for Louisiana."

McConnell then said it was "seriously disappointing" that Democrats wouldn't let them fund Israel's Iron Dome, adding "It honestly baffles me that defensive aid to our ally, Israel, has become a thorny subject for the political left. But overall, this is encouraging progress."

"On government funding, what Republicans laid out all along was a plain, continuing resolution, without the poison pill of a debt limit increase. That's exactly what we'll pass today."

The CR is a stop-gap measure which temporarily provides funding for the government through December 3rd, at which point Congress will need to issue another CR to fund the remainder of the fiscal year.

As we noted earlier Thursday, the Democrats' hopes of passing $4.6 trillion in legislation anytime soon appear to be slim.

Despite moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia refusing on Wednesday to back his party's $3.5 trillion spending plan  - calling it the "definition of fiscal insanity," Speaker Nancy Pelosi still plans to hold a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that House progressives vowed to sink unless the $3.5 trillion plan was passed in tandem.

"So far, so good for today," said Pelosi at a press conference following a meeting with her leadership team, adding "We're on a path to win the vote."

According to Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, even if the bill doesn't pass today, the impact will be limited.

"Whether that vote happens today, and I hope it does, this is not over," she told Bloomberg TV, adding "“If we haven’t reached that point in our negotiations, our commitment is to getting this entire agenda done, and that will happen."

Good luck with that.

In short, looks like the government won't shut down - but the debt ceiling and the spending packages remain in limbo.