Nancy Pelosi is no stranger to the House of Representatives. She was first elected in 1987 and is now serving as Speaker of the House for her second time. But it seems she has a lot on her plate this week as she pulled the plug on a vote for Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill for the second time as progressives threatened to sink it.
The first time that the House Speaker pulled Biden’s bill was on Tuesday, July 9th. Pelosi didn’t actually pull it until late at night, suggesting there were still efforts underway to get it passed. But progressives continued to say they wouldn’t support the bill, citing concerns about how labor policy is handled in the legislation and what type of oversight there was for how the money would be spent.
In a statement, Pelosi said that negotiations between Democrats and Republicans will continue to try to find a path forward on Biden’s bill. She noted that she wanted the legislation to pass but “it is clear that we cannot secure the votes necessary”. However, she promised there would be further discussions and that if we cannot get these two bills to the floor this week, we will return to them at the earliest possible opportunity.
Nancy Pelosi has been working hard on getting legislation passed in Congress lately. She held a press conference earlier this month and noted that she would like to see all three of the major infrastructure bills pass before July 4th. She also said she’d like to see a vote on them this week in order for President Donald Trump to sign it before the August recess begins, when Congress will leave Washington and take a break for several weeks.
The first infrastructure bill that passed through the House of Representatives was one that never even got a vote in the Senate due to a lack of Democratic support. There were also bipartisan concerns about the amount of taxpayer money that was going to be used for private construction projects and how little oversight there would be on spending.
The legislation that Pelosi had been working on with the Senate and White House is still far from balanced between its various sources of funding: $1 billion in general treasury money, $20 billion in fees and taxes from the Highway Trust Fund and $50 billion in private investment capital.
However, progressives say that legislation is still not good enough and they want it to be completely funded by public dollars. Although they’ve been making progress on their demands, Pelosi has continued to refuse to call a vote on the legislation. In a statement, Pelosi’s office pointed out that the House has already passed infrastructure bills – including one in 2018 – and they would continue to work on getting them sent to President Trump before Congress leaves town for recess this week.
The other two infrastructure bills that have been making their way through Congress are ones that both sides can agree on. They are the Water Resources Development Act and the America’s Water Infrastructure Act. Both of those bills had already passed through their respective committees before they were sent to the House floor for a vote on June 26th.
Pelosi’s office said that she hopes to be able to work with Republicans to pass these two bills soon but noted that Democrats will not support legislation that would jeopardize clean water protections. On the Senate side, Republican Senator John Barrasso said that he is working to convince House Democrats that this legislation will not give too much power to the Environmental Protection Agency, which they are concerned about.