“A deal’s a deal.”
“Instead of undercutting the president ahead of an election year, progressives are the ones keeping the full Biden agenda on track.”
That’s the message from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), following word from Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend that a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, slated for Monday, would be pushed back until later in the week.
While Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” she would not bring a package “to the floor that doesn’t have the votes,” Jayapal has indicated strongly that progressives are largely united in their position that the larger investment package, known as Build Back Better, must come before the smaller bipartisan deal negotiated in the Senate and passed by the upper chamber earlier this year.
“We don’t pass the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act,” said Jayapal, “investing in child care, climate action, paid leave, housing, health care, education, and a roadmap to citizenship. Let’s get this done and deliver for the people.”
In an interview with the Washington Post published Sunday night, Jayapal said she and her fellow CPC members are not bluffing and that support for their stance is only gaining strength as the tensions over the legislative calendar come to a head.
“It’s actually increasing, and it’s increasing from members who aren’t just within the Progressive Caucus,” Jayapal told the Post in terms of those willing to tank the bipartisan deal unless passage of the broader $3.5 trillion reconciliation deal is not secured first. Out of the 95-member caucus itself, along with some outside Democrats, she said she thought the number of Democrats on board is “probably somewhere around 60.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter Sunday evening, Pelosi said that while debate would begin Monday on the bipartisan package, known officially as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), a vote would not be held until Thursday.
As Common Dreams has reported for many weeks, progressives in the House—along with progressive members of the Senate, including Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—have been consistent in their negotiating strategy and the demand that the more sweeping social investment bill, opposed by corporate lobbyists and smeared for its efforts to increase taxes on the rich, must come first.
“Progressives in Congress have been flexible and constructive throughout this negotiation and continue to work to land a reconciliation deal,” stated a coalition of outside progressive advocacy groups in a letter last week, “but they have also been clear: they will oppose passage of just the smaller bill by itself—because it doesn’t contain the climate solutions and care, education, and economic investments we need. Passing just that small bill alone wouldn’t be a compromise; it would be a capitulation.”
According to Jayapal, those willing to vote in unison are “members of the [Congressional] Black Caucus, the [Congressional] Hispanic Caucus, the [Congressional] Asian [Pacific American] Caucus, some of whom are not members of the Progressive Caucus, who feel very strongly that this is really the only shot we have to deliver on the agenda that the president ran on.”
more at the link.
A deal is a deal. We’ll proudly pass both bills, but we’ll only vote for the infrastructure package AFTER we get the transformational Build Back Better Act through. https://t.co/Jt1jt73IqB
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 27, 2021
The café is open on this wonderfully rainy day.