- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said Democrats were “pretty much” close on an agreement around a social spending bill.
- The bill is a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda and was introduced with a $3.5 trillion price tag.
- But progressive and centrist Democrats have squabbled over particulars in the bill, also delaying a vote on an infrastructure bill already passed in the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, on Sunday said she expects an agreement on the bipartisan infrastructure bill soon as lawmakers near an agreement on a social spending plan.
Pelosi, who made the comments during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Democrats were nearing consensus on how to proceed with the reconciliation bill, the 10-year spending plan that is the cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda. The bill, which has been pared back from about $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion to gain the support of two Democratic holdouts, would invest in education, childcare, climate change, and programs for women, the elderly and minorities.
House leadership has held off on voting on an infrastructure bill passed by the Senate in August until an agreement between progressive and centrist Democrats could be made on the reconciliation package.
Meantime, Biden is meeting with one of the holdouts, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday to try and hammer out a final agreement on the tax-and-spend bill.
Pelosi said 90% of the reconciliation bill had been written and agreed upon, adding that lawmakers were “pretty much there” on it.
At the beginning of the month, Pelosi pushed the deadline for lawmakers to agree on the infrastructure bill to October 31, when highway funding runs out, saying it was “about time” the House passed the legislation after progressives stalled its passage, claiming they wouldn’t vote in its favor unless it passed alongside the reconciliation bill.
Centrist Democrats, like Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have pushed back on key provisions of the reconciliation bill, also leading to the delays.
“This date is fraught with meaning because October 31 is the day the highway trust fund authorization expires,” Pelosi said Sunday. “And if that expires, we have to get billions of dollars someplace to continue that. The best way to do that is to pass the bill.”
—State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 24, 2021
“We just have some of the last decisions to be made,” Pelosi said Sunday. “It is less than what was projected to begin with but it is still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America’s working families.”
“I’m optimistic that we can do that,” she said.