House Democrats return to push Biden's $3.5trillion agenda during the Afghanistan fiasco: Nancy Pelosi goes to war with moderates over huge spending agenda

 House Democrats are back in session for a key test of unity on President Joe Biden's budget Monday, as the White House continues to try to get a handle on the harried evacuations out of Afghanistan.

With two key pieces of Biden's domestic agenda – the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the massive budget on the line – the White House must shift some of its attention to Congress, where a group of centrist holdouts are threatening to derail Biden's $3.5 trillion plan.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote colleagues Saturday urging them to get behind the procedure that will move both the budget and the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, in a message to nine Democratic holdouts.

'Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share,' she warned colleagues, on a weekend she headlined a sun-soaked fundraiser for House Democrats. 

Amid the cross-pressures, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) issued a joint statement saying it would send a 'terrible message' if the bipartisan infrastructure bill is 'held hostage' to the budget.  

The House comes back Monday for key votes on a procedure for infrastructure and spending proposals in a key test of Democratic unity

The House comes back Monday for key votes on a procedure for infrastructure and spending proposals in a key test of Democratic unity

The votes comes amid chaos in Afghanistan, as President Biden meets repeatedly with his security team

 The votes comes amid chaos in Afghanistan, as President Biden meets repeatedly with his security team

She also told them House budgeteers will write a 'reconciliation' bill 'that is consistent' with the $3.5 trillion topline that passed the Senate, that the House would craft a bill that is 'paid for,' referencing tax enforcement provisions. 

A group of nine moderates have threatened to line up against the budget resolution – more than enough votes to tank the measure that will make way for signature 'human infrastructure' programs on health and childcare, unless the House first votes to advance the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.   

Republicans aren't expected to provide any help to Democratic leaders on the budget resolution. 

President Biden spoke remotely with Democratic leaders in the House last week, although he has had his hands full with the situation in Afghanistan

President Biden spoke remotely with Democratic leaders in the House last week, although he has had his hands full with the situation in Afghanistan

 

Progressive Democrats tried to hammer Democratic Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas) in an attack ad, but mistakenly ran an image of the wrong lawmaker: GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)

Progressive Democrats tried to hammer Democratic Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas) in an attack ad, but mistakenly ran an image of the wrong lawmaker: GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)

Progressive Democrats feature wrong Gonzalez in attack ad
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Nancy Pelosi spoke at a ritzy Napa Valley fundraiser. The House holds a key procedural vote Monday

Nancy Pelosi spoke at a ritzy Napa Valley fundraiser. The House holds a key procedural vote Monday


Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) has been leading a group of holdouts, who want to act on the infrastructure bill first rather than tying it to the budget, undercutting a progressive demand that they move in tandem to ensure support for the budget. 

They had threatened in an earlier letter that they 'will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.'

Pelosi, who as House speaker effectively controls procedure, engineered a single rule that will govern House votes on both measures, a move that did not satisfy the moderates. 

Amid the test of unity, Gottheimer told CNN Monday: 'I don't think we're risking anything. I believe both will move forward and get done. I think we'll work this out,' he predicted.

While centrist Democrats are eager to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has already won approval in the Senate, liberals say they must prioritize a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would expand spending on childcare and education. Both measures are priorities for Biden.

Pelosi is determined to launch the massive social spending framework, siding with liberals who worry it might be scaled back during the legislative process. 

Amid the turmoil, Biden met virtually with Pelosi and Democratic leaders last week. 

Some moderates have threatened, however, to withhold support for the social spending plan. That could potentially scuttle it in the House, where Democrats hold a 220-212 majority.

The first test will come on Monday evening, when the House is scheduled to vote on a procedural resolution that would advance both spending bills, as well as a separate voting rights proposal.

That would clear the way for a final vote on the budget plan and the voting rights bill on Tuesday.

She also set an Oct. 1 target date for passing both the infrastructure bill and the more sweeping social spending package that the budget resolution would allow lawmakers to fast-track.

No Republicans are expected to support the budget resolution plan, which sets the broad outline for spending on education, childcare, healthcare and climate measures favored by Biden and pays for them with tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations.

Crucially, the budget resolution plan would allow Democrats to pass those spending measures on a simple majority vote in the Senate, rather than the 60 votes required for most legislation in that chamber.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris has the power, however, to cast the tie-breaking vote.

Moderates think the House should prioritize passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, getting it to Biden's desk to sign into law so that repairs of roads, bridges and ports can begin at once.

'We cannot afford to wait months for this once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment,' Representative Josh Gottheimer said last week.

House Democrats return to push Biden's $3.5trillion agenda during the Afghanistan fiasco: Nancy Pelosi goes to war with moderates over huge spending agenda House Democrats return to push Biden's $3.5trillion agenda during the Afghanistan fiasco: Nancy Pelosi goes to war with moderates over huge spending agenda Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 10:27 Rating: 5

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