Oct. 4, 2021

House Speaker Says Negotiations Will Continue on Reconciliation Bill

As centrist and progressive Democrats continue to argue over whether to tie passage of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package with the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has set a new deadline.

Originally, Pelosi had set a deadline of Sept. 27 for an up or down vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which sets aside new funding for the country’s roads and bridges, railways, water infrastructure, high-speed internet expansion and public transportation. However, several progressive members of the House of Representatives have refused to vote on the bill as they work to pressure moderate Democrats to support the more controversial reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act, which seeks to overhaul labor relations across the country, fund childcare, expand clean energy initiatives and invest in new social programs that would be paid for by increases taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals. With negotiations ongoing, the House missed the Sept. 27 deadline for the infrastructure bill, prompting Pelosi to set a new deadline of Oct. 31 to pass the infrastructure legislation.

“Time was interrupted two weeks ago when the prospect of a changed budget made the climb to agreement steeper,” Pelosi said in a statement. “But still the work continues. Since it all starts with the priorities and then seeing what it all adds up to, it is important to know that it all adds up to ZERO, because Build Back Better is paid for. Negotiations will continue now, with more time for decisions, legislative language, Senate parliamentarian review and public awareness.”

Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), one of the key centrist Democrats who opposes the $3.5 trillion cost of the reconciliation bill, released a statement on Oct. 2 stating that canceling the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill betrayed the trust of the American people. “The failure of the U.S. House to hold a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is inexcusable and deeply disappointing for communities across our country,” she said. “Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity and better broadband only hurts everyday families.”