The House of Representatives aims on Friday to try to pass President Biden’s trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure plan, hours after the chamber’s Democratic leaders put off a planned vote on the measure amid a revolt from the party’s liberal wing.
The late-night delay came after Speaker Nancy Pelosi had spent much of Thursday insisting she would get the bill to the House floor that day. Just before 11 p.m., the vote was delayed to Friday, giving Democrats more time to reach agreement on an expansive climate change and social safety net bill that had become a sticking point for liberals in the negotiations.
Leaving the Capitol just after midnight, Ms. Pelosi told reporters “we’re not trillions of dollars apart” and vowed “there will be a vote today.”
Mr. Biden and Democrats have spent days trying to broker a deal between their party’s feuding factions on a critical piece of the president’s economic agenda, and talks were expected to continue on Friday. House Democrats were scheduled to meet privately Friday morning to discuss the ongoing talks.
“A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement late Thursday night. “But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing.”
The infrastructure measure, which would provide $550 billion in new funding, was supposed to burnish Mr. Biden’s bipartisan bona fides. It would devote $65 billion to expand high-speed internet access; $110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects; $25 billion for airports; and the most funding for Amtrak since the passenger rail service was founded in 1971. It would also accelerate a national shift toward electric vehicles with new charging stations and fortifications of the electricity grid that will be necessary to power those cars.
But Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and other progressive leaders for weeks had said they would oppose it until they saw action on the legislation they really wanted — a far-reaching bill with paid family leave, universal prekindergarten, Medicare expansion and strong measures to combat climate change.
“Nobody should be surprised that we are where we are, because we’ve been telling you that for three and a half months,” Ms. Jayapal said.
Some key liberals, including Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent in charge of the Senate Budget Committee, have been told that they will be consulted on any framework agreement, accrording to an aide.
Ms. Pelosi and top members of Mr. Biden’s team worked late into the night to strike a deal that could allow for passage of the infrastructure measure, which passed the Senate in August with great fanfare. But amid intense negotiations, the House’s most liberal members would not budge, while Republicans remained largely united behind their leaders’ efforts to kill the bill.
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