Congress

Votes On Large Spending Bills Delayed Again

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It seemed all but certain that the $1 trillion dollar bipartisan infrastructure spending bill would clear that House of Representatives and head to President Biden's desk last week after Speaker Nancy Pelosi boasted that she wouldn't schedule a vote if she didn't have enough to pass it.

But the vote was delayed yet again because too many liberal or progressive Democrats refused to vote for it without the simultaneous passage of the larger reconciliation spending bill.

I personally disagree with more liberal Democrats on this issue, but I digress. The blunder evidently pushed both chambers closer to actually figuring out how large the reconciliation bill will be and congressional Democrats are now saying it will total closer to $2 trillion rather than $3.5 trillion.

Democrats said on Friday that their sweeping bill intended to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change will need to be trimmed from a $3.5 trillion goal, perhaps to closer to $2 trillion, following a visit by the president to Capitol Hill to sell his agenda. [...]

Some Democrats will inevitably be disappointed, a senior White House official said Sunday.

"People will not get everything they want, that is the art of legislating, but the goal here is to get both bills, and we’re going to fight until we get both bills," Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

The White House reportedly wants to find a compromise and press for a vote within the next month and my top concern remains defections from progressive Democrats who won't get everything they want.

Moderates like Joe Manchin aren't going to get everything they want, either, and that's fine. If progressives say they want a $3.5 trillion bill and Joe Manchin says he wants a $1.5 trillion bill, that's why the final total will probably be closer to $2 trillion.

In my opinion, there is too much focus on the total dollar value rather than the material and political value of what's going into it. A bigger bill means members of Congress can stuff more of their own provisions into it, but the alternative is no one getting anything they want.