Pelosi blasted by moderate House Dems after Biden spending bills holdup

Pelosi blasted by moderate House Dems after Biden spending bills holdup

A pair of moderate House Democrats called out Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday night after President Biden made clear his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill would not proceed until party members reach an agreement on a larger social spending bill.

“While I have great respect for the Speaker, I believe her decision to again delay a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is wrong,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said in a statement.

Pelosi had initially promised moderates that the infrastructure bill would come up for a vote by Sept. 27. She then allowed the deadline to slide to Thursday as progressives dug in their heels and vowed to vote against the legislation if it hit the House floor before the social spending bill, known as the Build Back Better Act.

After House Democratic leadership failed to secure an agreement that would have allowed for a vote Thursday night, Biden came to Capitol Hill Friday afternoon and left no doubt that the bills were “tied together,” according to progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Rep. Stephanie Murphy criticized Pelosi's "wrong" decision on late Thursday to delay the vote.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy criticized Speaker Pelosi’s “wrong” decision on late Thursday to delay the vote.

In her statement, Murphy claimed that Pelosi had promised to “rally the votes” for the infrastructure bill to help ensure its passage.

“This promise was enshrined in a House resolution that every Democrat supported,” she said. “This written commitment was the only reason there were enough votes in the House to even start the reconciliation process — that is, to begin the process of writing the Build Back Better Act.”

Murphy then rounded on her far-left colleagues, who she said had tried to waylay the bill “in a misguided effort to gain ‘leverage’ over their fellow Democrats.”

“I hope my colleagues will reconsider their approach,” she added. “Whether they do or not, all members of the House should be required to cast a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and to accept the consequences of that vote.”

Murphy concluded by noting that she will support a social spending bill that “is as bold as the votes will bear, that is fiscally disciplined, and that prioritizes measures to combat climate change. There is no — zero — linkage between these two bills in my mind … No member of Congress, and certainly no member of my own party, has the slightest leverage over my vote. I will do what I believe is in the best interest of my constituents and my country, and what comports with my conscience.”

Another moderate, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), said Pelosi had “breached her firm, public commitment to Members of Congress and the American people to hold a vote and to pass the once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer believes a "far left faction" is putting President Joe Biden's infrastructure package at risk.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer believes a “far-left faction” is putting President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package at risk.

“We cannot let this small faction on the far left … destroy the President’s agenda and stop the creation of two million jobs a year — including for the millions of hard-working men and women of labor,” Gottheimer added. “We were elected to achieve reasonable, commonsense solutions for the American people — not to obstruct from the far wings.

“This far-left faction is willing to put the President’s entire agenda, including this historic bipartisan infrastructure package, at risk. They’ve put civility and bipartisan governing at risk,” Gottheimer concluded. “I will not stop fighting for the people I represent, and I will not stop fighting to get the historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill across the finish line — to support the communities, families, and workers of New Jersey.”

Murphy and Gottheimer are both members of the 19-member Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats. With the party holding a majority of just eight seats in the House and all Republicans likely to vote against the Build Back Better Act, Pelosi and her allies can only afford to lose three Democratic votes before the bill would go down to defeat — making Murphy, Gottheimer and the other moderates a small, but powerful bloc.

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