In a “Dear Colleagues” letter Saturday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the deadline for the House’s vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to Oct. 31.
Pelosi said the House voted to extend the Sept. 30 deadline citing more time is needed for them to work on passing a budget agreement adding the bill would definitely pass once it was debated on the floor, The bipartisan bill passed the Senate with a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10.
The House passed extending the date Friday night in light of ongoing disagreements among Democratic representatives over changing the budget, Pelosi wrote in the letter.
“Negotiations will continue now, with more time for decisions, legislative language, Senate parliamentarian review and public awareness,” she wrote.
The Speaker said although the Surface Transportation Authorization Deadline is set for Oct. 31, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) must be voted on and passed before that time in order to create jobs. She said House Democrats “take pride” in the plan, which she said led to millions of vaccinations and a return to jobs and school.
The gap has grown between progressive and moderate Democrats in both the House and Senate due to a variety of disagreements on the legislation; with many arguing that the bipartisan bill should reach President Joe Biden’s desk first, while progressives demand both the BIF and the Build Back Better bills should pass together. Progressives insist they will hold up the infrastructure bill passing if the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation is not included.
This past week, House Democrats stopped an infrastructure vote, with many members of the House Progressive Caucus declaring that they would not support the bill. Pelosi conceded that the bill would fail without the far left’s support.
During a Sept. 2 Chamber of Commerce meeting, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a cynic of the $3.5 reconciliation budget, urged his colleagues to “hit the pause button” on the all-inclusive legislation as Congress is already facing overwhelming issues. The moderate Democrat said that he will not support the cost of the legislation, indicating that he might support a package that cost between $1-1.5 trillion.
President Joe Biden tried to alleviate tensions within the Democratic party concerning the budget reconciliation in recent days by inviting Manchin and Democratic Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema to the White House to work towards a compromise. Sinema had said that he would not support the bill adding he was unlikely to compromise.