Nancy Pelosi remains committed to passing a reconciliation bill in the House … whatever it might be. After Tuesday’s red wave, her moderate caucus members apparently no longer share her enthusiasm, especially after watching Pelosi stuff the proposal with previously excised components that Joe Manchin refuses to support.
They’re beginning to wonder why Pelosi will force them to vote on proposals that will leave them vulnerable while having zero chance of passing in the Senate:
“Pelosi is committed to bringing this up, so are a lot of the caucuses,” added Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), a member of the left-leaning Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Now we’re in that phase and trying to push as quickly as possible.”
Democrats still have a number of critical issues to resolve, including lingering concerns aired by Manchin as to whether the party is moving too quickly to adopt policy changes that could add to the deficit and cause even more prices to rise. Some moderate-leaning House Democrats on Wednesday added their voices to the calls for more time to study the recently revised bill — and more evidence that confirms if it is financed in full.
“What the heck is all this other stuff? Can it pass the Senate?” asked Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), noting that Democrats added hundreds of pages from their earlier draft. “It really keeps changing.”
It most certainly can’t pass the Senate, but that’s no longer a priority for Pelosi. The Hill reports that she wants to re-stuff reconciliation with progressive priorities regardless of whether Manchin will vote for it. Pelosi now refuses to even wait for a CBO score to determine whether the package will even qualify under reconciliation, another sticking point for Manchin and several House moderates:
A handful of moderates, led by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), are demanding a score from the Congressional Budget Office on the social spending bill before they agree to vote for it.
“Her well of confidence remains undiscovered by all of us who seek it,” said one moderate Democrat.
“There is risk because it’s got to pass the floor here, and then once it gets to the Senate, it’s got to survive over there,” said a second House Democrat. “It shows how much everybody wants to see movement.”
Pelosi’s change in strategy underscores the desire by House Democrats to show some kind of progress on Biden’s economic agenda after months of messy, intraparty infighting over policy and political tactics. Both the House and Senate are slated to be on recess next week for Veterans Day, and rank-and-file Democrats are desperate to have a successful vote that they can talk about with constituents and voters back home — especially after their big loss in Virginia.
But it’s unclear how things would play out in the Senate if the House manages to pass Build Back Better. House Democrats said such a move would put pressure on Manchin to reject the package and bring the two sides closer to a deal that’s been elusive for months.
Manchin’s been dealing with pressure for months, and still shows no sign of buckling. In fact, he told CNN’s John Berman this morning that Pelosi still hasn’t figured out that Democrats have veered too far to the Left, even after Tuesday’s electoral disaster:
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 4, 2021
This effort to push a bill that the Senate not just won’t but can’t pass is remarkable enough, but it’s not at all clear that Pelosi can get this passed in the House, either. Moderates who got the same lesson Manchin derived from Virginia and New Jersey election results will be none too keen to take dangerous votes on immigration amnesty and new mandates on businesses for paid leave while the economy stalls and the labor markets drag. The entire exercise has become nothing more than Pelosi’s virtue-signaling, a kind of performance art designed to do no more than get polite applause from progressive activists.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The performance art is likely a clever diversion that will allow Pelosi to finally do something substantive in passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill. She needs the progressive caucus for that, so Pelosi’s clowning around with Biden’s impossible “framework” as a distraction. When her version of the Biden proposal dies in the House or Senate, Pelosi can shrug it off and point to the BIF as at least some business accomplished. But first she has to fool the progressives, and thus far her track record on that has been dismal.