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A failed House infrastructure vote would be ‘a serious blow’ to the bipartisan bill but maybe not ‘fatal’

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday “pretty much ensured defeat of the bipartisan infrastructure deal known as BIF, if the House votes on it at all today,” Politico predicted Thursday morning. Progressive House Democrats have threatened to sink the legislation unless Manchin and his fellow centrists give a firm commitment that they will support the larger, more ambitious reconciliation package that completes President Biden’s domestic agenda. Manchin called the current reconciliation framework “the definition of fiscal insanity” and suggested starting from scratch. 

“In their fight over trillions of dollars, their paramount policy goals, and perhaps their political fate, this isn’t helping,” The Associated Press reports: “Democratic progressives and centrists say they don’t trust each other.”

The vast majority of congressional Democrats want both bills to pass, but in an essentially evenly split Congress, they don’t have any votes to spare. Progressive Democrats have committed to “shooting the hostage,” Politico‘s

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Moderates Threaten Stalemate Over Budget Vote and Infrastructure

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WASHINGTON — Nine moderate House Democrats told Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday that they will not vote for a budget resolution meant to pave the way for the passage of a $3.5 trillion social policy package later this year until a Senate-approved infrastructure bill passes the House and is signed into law.

The pledge, in a letter released early Friday, is a major rift that threatens the carefully choreographed, two-track effort by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to enact both a trillion-dollar, bipartisan infrastructure deal and an even more ambitious — but partisan — social policy measure. The nine House members are more than enough to block consideration of the budget blueprint in a House where Democrats hold a three-seat majority.

The Senate passed the infrastructure bill on Tuesday with 69 votes, including 19 Republicans. It then approved, on a party-line vote early Wednesday, a $3.5 trillion budget resolution

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Infrastructure: Here’s how far apart the White House and Senate GOP are right now

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The two sides are a lot closer than when they started — but remain billions of dollars apart. Biden met Wednesday with Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, an exchange the White House described as “constructive and frank,” and Republicans are expected to make another counteroffer on Friday.
With only a narrow majority in the Senate, Biden would need votes from key moderates in his party, like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, to push through a deal with Democratic votes alone. Manchin has said he wants his party leaders to seriously engage with Republicans and agree on a bipartisan bill.
Biden’s original plan would have cost an estimated $2.25 trillion. He offered this week to bring his price tag down to $1 trillion but wants to ensure it amounts to new funding — not money redirected from spending already approved by Congress as Senate Republicans have been demanding.
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