A group of nine moderates is threatening to withhold their votes from Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution later this month, endangering Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s two-track plan to push both a massive infrastructure bill and social spending agenda through the House in the coming weeks.
The House Democrats outlined their threat in a letter to Pelosi and obtained by POLITICO on Friday morning. The group has been issuing veiled warnings for weeks — calling on Pelosi to bring the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill up for a vote as soon as it’s ready — but this is the first time the lawmakers have explicitly said they wouldn’t support voting for the budget resolution.
“We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law,” wrote the group, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey.
Pelosi can afford to lose only three votes in the House and will need near unanimity among Democrats to pass the budget resolution, which is slated for a vote when the House returns the week of Aug. 23. The House must pass the budget resolution before Democrats can move ahead with passing a massive $3.5 trillion social spending package using the filibuster protections of reconciliation.
But Pelosi’s other flank, the progressives, have balked at the idea of putting the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote first, warning leadership that they have enough members prepared to vote against the Senate-passed bill to tank it on the floor.
The latest move from Gottheimer and the other Democratic centrists ups the ante for Pelosi and her leadership team, who so far have shown no willingness to budge on their two-track approach.
Pelosi reiterated her stance — emphasizing it was firm — on a private caucus call earlier this week, telling her member there was “consensus” in the caucus to not bring up the Senate infrastructure bill until the upper chamber had passed the more sweeping social spending plan.
In addition to Gottheimer, Democratic Reps. Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, all of Texas, as well as Reps. Ed Case of Hawaii, Jared Golden of Maine, Jim Costa of California, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia and Kurt Schrader of Oregon signed the letter.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed its bipartisan infrastructure bill, with 19 Republicans joining all Democrats to support the legislation. The bill, which includes $550 billion in new spending, provides federal funding for roads, bridges, modernizing the electric grid and broadband internet, among other things.