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September 30, 2021
As of late this afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was seemingly plowing ahead with a planned vote in the House today on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that progressives in her caucus have threatened to oppose.
“We’re on a path to win the votes,” Pelosi told reporters earlier today. “I don’t want to even consider any options but that. Think positively.”
The infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate in August, has broad support. But House leaders do not appear to have the votes for passage today because progressive Democrats say they are firmly against passage of infrastructure without guarantees on the $3.5 trillion social spending package that is the second piece of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
The liberal wing of the Democratic caucus does not trust that centrist Democratic senators like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will support the full social spending package, which would mandate universal paid family leave and expand Medicare to include dental, hearing and vision benefits; guarantee pre-kindergarten for all children ages 3 and 4; fund better protections for the nation’s elderly; increase pay for child care workers; and require employers without employer-sponsored retirement plans to automatically enroll their employees in IRAs or 401(k)-type plans.
Manchin has been up front that he is uncomfortable with the price tag for the package, and POLITICO broke news today that Manchin proposed a deal to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this summer to limit the total cost of the bill to $1.5 trillion.