A group of nine moderates is threatening to withhold their votes from Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution later this month, endangering Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s two-track plan to push both a massive infrastructure bill and social spending agenda through the House in the coming weeks.
That missive — which was made public Friday — quickly escalated tensions across the Democratic caucus, with anxieties already running high about how the tightly divided House will be able to muscle through both of President Joe Biden’s priorities in short order.
Several of those moderates, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), had been issuing similar veiled warnings for weeks, calling on Pelosi to bring the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill up for a vote as soon as it’s ready. But this is the first time the lawmakers have explicitly said they’re willing to block the budget resolution in an attempt to force Pelosi’s hand — the latest setback in what is becoming a painful August recess for House Democrats.
“We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law,” the group wrote.
The hard-line approach, however, has isolated at least a handful of other Democratic centrists who say they privately agree about the need to pass the bipartisan Senate bill this month, according to several people familiar with the discussions.
Several of them also worry that a delay could derail both bills. But most of those centrists have preferred working behind the scenes with Pelosi and her leadership team, urging them to speed up the timeline or to secure commitments for the broader, party-line bill.
And they say their biggest concern is missing out on an August recess messaging push that could be key to helping keep their majority, something that hasn’t been clearly articulated from the Democrats who signed onto the letter.