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Moderate House Dems Stand In The Way Of Biden, Pelosi’s Infrastructure Legislation

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Joe Biden has a plan.

You may have heard that often during the 2020 presidential election campaign but it appears his, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan could be thwarted by their own party.

A group of nine moderate Democrats is standing in the way of the Biden infrastructure plan as Pelosi, a California representative, is spearheading efforts to get it passed in the House, Business Insider reported.

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The House convened on Monday, after coming back from its recess, to tackle the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, a budget resolution that will pave the way for the Democrats $3.5 trillion budget package, and a voting bill named for late Rep. John Lewis.

But a group of Democrats headed by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer are insisting on passing the infrastructure bill first and threatening to vote no on the budget resolution if they do not get their way.

“I’ve heard from a lot of Democrats who are not part of the nine, who have said to me this is exactly right: There’s no reason why we, when we have this historic once-in-a-century infrastructure package in front of us out of the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote, shouldn’t immediately bring it to the floor and vote on it as soon as possible,” he said to The Atlantic.

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“The president himself tweeted the day it was passed, ‘Send it to my desk as soon as possible,’ and that’s for good reason. To put it at risk and to wait months for it to pass—and, frankly, risk that it may never become law at all—is something our country can’t afford, and we need to get the shovels in the ground now,” he said.

He said that he does want to move forward on the reconciliation bill but that differences in what members want need to be debated separate from the infrastructure bill.

“They have the votes to tank it, and they’re holding the president’s priority hostage, which I don’t understand,” he said of the progressive Democrats.

“Time kills deals. This is an old business saying and the essence of why we are pushing to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill through Congress and immediately to President Biden’s desk — as the president himself requested the day after it passed the Senate,” the group said in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

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“We are firmly opposed to holding the president’s infrastructure legislation hostage to reconciliation, risking its passage and the bipartisan support behind it,” it said.

“Across this country, far too many communities are struggling with crumbling roads and structurally unsound bridges, outrageous congestion, lead-coated pipes and no broadband access. You don’t hold up a major priority of the country, and millions of jobs, as some form of leverage. The infrastructure bill is not a political football,” they said.

Even if the progressives in The House got their way and got the reconciliation bill passed and it is unlikely to pass in the Senate where two Senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, have expressed reservations about the price of the package.

“Proceedings in the U.S. House will have no impact on Kyrsten’s views about what is best for our country – including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion,” Sen. Sinema’s spokesman John LaBombard said.

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And Sen. Manchin issued a statement after Sen. Sinema backing the moderate House Democrats.

“It would send a terrible message to the American people if this bipartisan bill is held hostage. I urge my colleagues in the House to move swiftly to get this once in a generation legislation to the President’s desk for his signature,” he said.

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