The group of nine moderate House Democrats on Sunday insisted on passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill before the $3.5 trillion budget, vowing to block the budget if it was brought to the floor first.
The group, led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, calling on the House to “take the win” and send the infrastructure package to President Joe Biden’s desk immediately.
“The challenge we face right now is that there is a standoff with some of our colleagues who have decided to hold the infrastructure bill hostage for months, or kill it altogether, if they don’t get what they want in the next bill — a largely undefined $3.5 trillion reconciliation package,” they wrote.
“While we have concerns about the level of spending and potential revenue raisers, we are open to immediate consideration of that package,” they added. “But we are firmly opposed to holding the president’s infrastructure legislation hostage to reconciliation, risking its passage and the bipartisan support behind it.”
The op-ed was not the first time the group has argued against linking the two bills. They first vowed to block the budget if their conditions were not met in a letter on Aug. 13, and have stood firm since, despite public pressure from progressives and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Senate first passed the infrastructure bill on Aug. 10, and then passed the budget just before 4 a.m. the next day.
The House is returning early from its August recess, and is scheduled to vote to advance the budget as soon as Monday evening. The standoff could jeopardize its moving forward, given Democrats’ bare three-vote majority.
“You don’t hold up a major priority of the country, and millions of jobs, as some form of leverage. The infrastructure bill is not a political football,” the group wrote. “Let’s take the win for American workers, and the nation, and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”
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