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Pelosi and Biden Suffer Embarrassing Defeat in Effort to Move Infrastructure Bill

We’ve been indicating for awhile that the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill was in trouble because of the stalemate between the progressives and the moderates on the bigger budget reconciliation bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had said she’d have the infrastructure bill on for a vote on Monday. Then she was forced to shift it to Thursday, angering the moderates to whom she’d promised the Monday vote. Now, as we’ve seen, there was no vote yesterday, Pelosi was forced to pull the vote yet again because she didn’t have the numbers despite claiming all week that she would. That’s a pretty big embarrassing defeat for Pelosi after she’d been promising that she’d have it all week. But as we said, it was a dumb promise to make given the stalemate.

Now that she’s put it off again, that’s likely to antagonize the moderates even more.

As we previously reported, they were already telling her that more delay, past Sept. 30, would be “catastrophic.”

“Obviously, our group will have a lot of trouble with that,” said one of them, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), according to The Hill. “And it will be catastrophic.”

“If the vote were to fail tomorrow or be delayed, there would be a significant breach in trust that would slow the momentum in moving forward in delivering the Biden agenda,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, declared.

Murphy had threatened to withhold her vote on reconciliation if the infrastructure bill wasn’t moved for a vote.

Looks like we’re at that catastrophic point.

Pelosi did her best to spin it and said they were still working toward an agreement.

From NY Post:

Hours later, the speaker sought to put a positive spin on what she called a “productive and crucial day”.

“Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a [$3.5 trillion] reconciliation bill,” Pelosi wrote in a so-called “Dear Colleague” letter.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill has already had its rule passed and its debate has concluded. All of this momentum brings us closer to shaping the reconciliation bill in a manner that will pass the House and Senate.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tried to spin it as well, saying the two sides were “closer to an agreement than ever. But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing.”

What was actually funny, too, was that the Biden administration sent out people to try to reach an agreement, including Susan Rice. But they don’t seem to have gotten anywhere.

You know you’re in trouble when you have to deploy Susan Rice to cover your action.

It’s not clear how Pelosi thinks they’re going to make it past the stalemate.

The greater question on the budget reconciliation bill is what’s holding it up, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) saying his top line number is $1.5 trillion.

On Wednesday, Manchin had reiterated his opposition to spending $3.5 trillion “when we have already spent $5.4 trillion since last March.”

“What I have made clear to the President and Democratic leaders is that spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity,” he said in a statement. “Suggesting that spending trillions more will not have an impact on inflation ignores the everyday reality that America’s families continue to pay an unavoidable inflation tax.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has indicated that she not only has an issue with the price but a lot of the taxes that are included within the bill.

But it’s pretty humiliating for both Pelosi and Biden, without a clear roadmap to how they are going to get either bill through at this point and likely more defeat on the way.

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