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Pelosi may delay vote on Senate bipartisan infrastructure bill

Speaker Pelosi said the budget reconciliation bill price tag could drop lower.

September 26, 2021, 12:56 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may not bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the House floor Monday as she had previously committed to, she said Sunday.

"I'm never bringing to the floor a bill that doesn't have the votes," Pelosi told ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos, adding it could be Monday.

"You cannot choose the date," Pelosi said. "You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will."

Pelosi had previously agreed to put the bipartisan infrastructure bill on the floor to be considered by Sept. 27, after moderates in her caucus demanded a vote.

Still, she said of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, "Let me just say, we're going to pass the bill this week."

House progressives have warned leadership they will not vote on the bipartisan bill until the larger $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill is also ready for a vote. Pelosi acknowledged, "In order to move forward, we have to build consensus."

Pelosi said the price tag for that larger bill could drop in negotiations with concessions.

"I know the budget committee passed a resolution calling for $3.5 trillion, but it sounds like you acknowledge that the final number is going to be somewhat smaller than that," Stephanopoulos pressed.

"Yeah, I mean, that seems self-evident," Pelosi responded.

Moderate Democrats, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., have expressed concern over the $3.5 trillion bill's cost and some of its contents. Due to the Democrats' narrow Senate majority, they need every member of their caucus to vote for the bill in the Senate in order for it to pass the simple majority required for reconciliation measures.

"We'll see how the number comes down and what we need in that regard, but we have agreed on an array of pay-fors in the legislation," Pelosi said. "This will be paid for."

"Obviously with negotiations there will have to be some changes with that, the sooner the better so that we can build our consensus to go forward, and we will do that," she also said.

On Saturday, the House Budget Committee approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that calls for investments in climate change policy, childcare and other social programs.

Pelosi told her colleagues in a letter on Saturday they "must" pass the bill this week along with a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"The next few days will be a time of intensity," she wrote.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi updates reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 23, 2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi updates reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 23, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Pelosi said on "This Week" that the House must first deal with the looming potential government shutdown on Oct. 1. The House previously approved a bill that would fund the government until Dec. 3, and it would also suspend the debt limit through December 2022.

Senate Republicans are expected to block a procedural vote on Monday because they have said for months now that they want Democrats to handle the debt limit on their own.

Stephanopoulos pressed Pelosi on whether her caucus will pass the funding bill.

"Are you confident right now Democrats can pass it on their own?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"We want this to be bipartisan," Pelosi responded. "If we didn't want it to be bipartisan, we would have put it in the reconciliation bill."

She added about Republicans, "Isn't that irresponsible beyond words? The full faith and credit in the United States should not be questioned. That's in the Constitution of the United States."

Pelosi insisted she wants to raise the debt limit in a bipartisan manner and ruled out lifting the debt limit by using the process of reconciliation, which would only require a simple majority of votes but requires weeks of procedural time.

"This is beyond a big deal," Pelosi said. "So let's hope some of the Republicans -- enough of them -- find some level of responsibility to our country to honor what's in the Constitution, that we not question the full faith and credit of the United States of America."

"They know full well what the consequences are," Pelosi said.

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