Democrats slam Joe Biden for not working to save spending bills

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Democrats slam Joe Biden for not working to save spending bills

With the vote for a bipartisan infrastructure bill only days away, Democrats are growing disappointed that President Biden has not assisted in negotiating between the warring left and moderate flanks of his party to pass that $1.2 trillion measure and the president’s signature $3.5 trillion spending bill. 

Before the end of September, Congress is looking to pass both pieces of legislation, however there is conflict among the Democrats on which one will get a vote first. 

“The president needs to pick up the phone and call people,” one moderate Democrat close to talks told Politico, adding that the White House has been in “listening mode” for too long and needs to help pass the vote. 

Sunday night, a senior Democratic aide told the outlet “there are a lot of mistakes happening here.” 

“There is no whip effort on the BIF yet,” the aide added. “Everything is hanging by a thread. Biden needs to be more engaged.” 

Moderates are looking to pass the bipartisan measure to pass first, but progressive Democrats want to vote ​first ​on the broad $3.5 trillion spending legislation which contains funding for climate measures, family leave​, education and expansion of the social safety net​.

Joe Biden.
“The president needs to pick up the phone and call people,” one moderate Democrat said.
Al Drago/Pool/EPA

While progressives have found Biden and the White House to be in agreement that both bills need to move forward, there has been no action from the administration to vote on the infrastructure bill before the reconciliation budget. 

“No one has made a case to progressives or lobbied for them to change their position and vote for it before the Build Back Better Act,” one senior House progressive source told POLITICO. “And in fact the White House, when we were there on Wednesday, was very much in the same position: There was agreement that we need both bills.”

It’s gotten so bad that on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed off her pledge to bring the infrastructure bill to vote on Monday, saying she wouldn’t do it if they didn’t have the votes.  

The Squad.
Progressive Democrats want to vote ​first ​on the broad $3.5 trillion spending legislation before passing the bipartisan $1.2 trillion measure.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

“I’m never bringing to the floor a bill that doesn’t have the votes,” Pelosi said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“You cannot choose the date. You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will,” she said.

Despite that, she ​insisted the bill would be passed this week.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed off her pledge to bring the infrastructure bill to vote on Monday.
Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

The move comes after progressives threatened to tank the bill if it didn’t come after they passed the $3.5 spending legislation. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, confirmed during an appearance on CNN that the votes aren’t there for the bipartisan​ deal.

“I don’t believe there will be a vote,” Jayapal said​. “The ​s​peaker is an incredibly good vote counter, and she knows exactly where her caucus stands, and we’ve been really clear on that.”

Pramila Jayapal.
“The ​s​peaker is an incredibly good vote counter, and she knows exactly where her caucus stands,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said regarding the vote delay.
Shawn Thew/EPA

​​The $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan passed the Senate ​in August by a 69-30 vote and on Saturday, the House ​Budget Committee approved advancing the $3.5 trillion plan to a floor vote.

Democrats are looking to pass both bills by Thursday.If and when the reconciliation bill passes the House, it faces more trouble in the Senate as. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said they will not support a $3.5 trillion spending plan.

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