WASHINGTON – Democrats in the US House of Representatives passed a $ 3.5 trillion budget framework on Tuesday, overcoming a deadlock with a handful of centrists who asked the House to first approve the bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill adopted by the Senate.
The position of 10 House Democrats – including Reps Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia, Jared Golden of Maine and Stephanie Murphy of Florida – prompted an overnight negotiation session between the centrists and the main Democrats of the Bedroom.
This decision risked upsetting the president’s domestic policy agenda, due to the very small majority of Democrats in the chamber.
Ultimately, all 10 voted to approve the budget framework in Tuesday’s 220-212 party line vote, in which every House Republican voted in opposition.
The procedural vote included a commitment that the House would vote on the Senate-approved infrastructure bill by September 27 – just days before the October 1 deadline that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Had set to approve both the infrastructure bill and the budget package.
Pelosi said in her remarks on Tuesday that she “welcomes” the bipartisan nature of the infrastructure deal, but said this measure alone “does not include all the values that we need to rebuild at a time when we have a climate crisis “.
“Not only are we building America’s physical infrastructure, we are building America’s human infrastructure to enable many more people to participate in the success of our economy and the growth of our society,” Pelosi said. .
Tuesday’s budget vote kicks off a swift process that must be completed by September 15 to draft the budget measure, which is expected to create and expand a wide range of national policy agendas on child care, climate change, community colleges, immigration and health care.
Colorado Representative Joe Neguse, who led the debate for Democrats, said the domestic policy proposals that will be drafted in the budget reconciliation process would be “transformational” through a series of critical political investments.
“This plan will create well-paying jobs, put money in the pockets of American families, lower health care and child care costs, and invest in our nation’s infrastructure, paid for by ensuring that that the richest Americans pay their fair share of taxes, ”Neguse mentioned.
Republicans vehemently opposed the budget resolution, calling it a reckless increase in government spending at a time when inflation is pushing up costs for American families. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., Joked that the bill should be dubbed the “Mountains of Debt for Our Children Act”.
“Democrats know their proposals are unpopular. They can’t even get their own conference to agree, ”said Representative Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., Referring to objections from the handful of centrist Democrats.
This group of 10 centrist Democrats also included Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas; Ed Case from Hawaii; Jim Costa from California; and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
Murphy, of Florida, was not among the first nine to push for a vote on infrastructure ahead of the budget debate. Instead, she added her name on Monday, writing in an editorial published in the Orlando Sentinel that linking the two efforts would result in much needed funds for road and bridge projects, as Democrats attempt to unravel the more controversial parts of the domestic policy agenda.
“I am bewildered by my party’s flawed strategy of making the passage of the already-written, bipartisan infrastructure bill conditional on the passage of the controversial partisan reconciliation bill, which ‘hasn’t been written yet,’ Murphy wrote in the op-ed. “This is bad policy and, yes, bad policy.”
Murphy’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
In a statement after the vote, Gottheimer and eight Democrats who had threatened to withdraw support touted the approach that authorized the House as securing an infrastructure vote next month, separate from the national budget reconciliation package.
“This is a great victory for America and it will help people to work and dig the ground,” they said in the statement. “We have set a path forward that ensures we can complete this unique infrastructure investment by September 27, allowing us to create millions of jobs and bring our country into the 21st century.”
While the centrists presented the result as a victory, the strategy carried political risks, and some of those involved have already suffered a backlash from supporters of the domestic policy agenda they have endangered.
Bourdeaux, who narrowly overthrew a congressional district in the northern suburbs of Atlanta last year, has faced increased pressure at home since he joined the moderate call for a vote on the infrastructure before the budget vote.
Progressive rights groups – as well as one of Bourdeaux’s former Democratic rivals – have publicly challenged the first-term MP’s stance and called on her to put the same energy into the Democratic social spending plan.
“The families we represent literally cannot allow you to block or reduce these critical priorities,” wrote more than two dozen Georgia-based advocacy groups, such as 9to5 and Georgians for a Healthy Future, in a letter to Bourdeaux.
The coalition said funding for the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate was only a “fraction of what our communities need” and argued that the Democratic budget bill would be a “money changer. Game”.
Democratic leaders in the House will also be watching these centrists closely.
Pelosi said in a statement after the vote that she thanked Gottheimer and the others “for their enthusiastic support of the infrastructure bill and know that they also share President Biden’s Build Back Better vision.”
Georgia Recorder’s Associate Editor-in-Chief, Jill Nolin, contributed to this report.