The planned vote to decide the two-party infrastructure bill was stalled after the House delayed it. Negotiations are on over the much bigger social safety bill that has been stalled for lack of a consensus.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker left in the early morning on Friday. She persistently suggested that a vote was imminent that day. She further told correspondents that the moderates and the progressives, who had open differences about the amount to be allocated for social safety spending, were not trillions apart.
The infrastructure bill worth $1.2T was slated to be taken up this Thursday. But without a positive agreement on the bigger package of $3.5T, the progressives threatened to upstage the legislation and vote against it. It was obvious that they had the power to sink the smaller bill.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or the Infrastructure bill, in short, is panned for the biggest ever investment in upgrading and rebuilding American roads, railways, ports, airports, bridges. There are also allocations planned to build modern infrastructures such as internet broadband and EV charging stations.
Progressive Democrats Are More Concerned About The Social Safety Net Than The Infrastructure Bill
The bigger bill is the Build Back Better Act and is aimed at propping up the economic net to provide Americans with at least 2 years of child care assistance, cheaper drugs, free college, Medicare assistance, and similar provisions.
There is also the amount marked for climate change built into the proposed bill.
The Build Back Better Act needs the backing of every Democrat inside the Senate that is at present split in the middle. But Democratic Senators Sinema and Manchin have put a spoke in the wheel by claiming that the price tag is way high. They met top administrative officials but could not pull off an agreement. The progressives have hit back by blocking the infrastructure bill.
Manchin had suggested earlier that he’d be willing to go as far as $1.5T in the Build Back Better Act, a figure less than half the initial proposition. As the day ended, Manchin had not changed his offer.
Manchin had stuck to the figure since he first proposed it to Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader in the Senate. He said going any higher will jeopardize the economy.
West Virginia is also opposed to the climate change provisions as it would hurt his support base in the coal belt of his state. It is unlikely that he will come around to the amount proposed by the progressives.