President Joe Biden delivers remarks July 8, 2021, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
WASHINGTON — Nine moderate U.S. House Democrats including Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia and Jared Golden of Maine are threatening to oppose a budget resolution needed to pass a major social policy package unless a bipartisan infrastructure bill is first signed into law, according to multiple media reports.
Opposition from the group could stymie House Democratic leadership’s plans of passing major legislation this fall on two tracks.
One is President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and the other is his $3.5 trillion social policy package, the largest expansion of social programs since the New Deal.
“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months—until the reconciliation process is completed,” according to a letter from the group obtained by the New York Times. “We disagree.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has called the House back early for the week of Aug. 23 to pass the budget resolution, which will serve as a blueprint for historic changes in health, climate, education and tax reform. But the moderates say they “will not consider” backing it until the bipartisan infrastructure bill passes the House and is signed into law.
With a slim 220-212 majority in the House, Pelosi cannot afford to lose Democrats in passing the two packages. House progressives—who have 95 House members in their caucus—are insistent the social spending package must be voted on first in the Senate before the infrastructure bill moves in the House.
The letter was also signed by Filemon Vela, Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas; Ed Case of Hawaii; Jim Costa of California; and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
“With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this once-in- a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package,” they wrote.
The budget resolution passed in the Senate with a 50-50 split and the infrastructure bill passed 69-30.
Gottheimer, Bourdeaux and Golden did not respond to requests for comment.
An earlier letter signed by nine moderate Democrats outlined their concerns about the social programs package, and instead urged House leadership to quickly pass the infrastructure bill.
“Before the House adopts a budget resolution, Members of Congress should be able to review a detailed scope of spending levels and revenue raisers,” according to the Aug. 10 letter.
Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., signed that letter, but not the Aug. 12 letter. Bourdeaux was not on the earlier letter, but added her signature.
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