House Democrats this week are setting aside the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to take up a $3.5 trillion budget resolution needed to move President Joe Biden's domestic spending priorities and climate policy.
A group of nine moderate lawmakers called for the House to vote on the Senate infrastructure bill before considering the budget resolution, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to go along with their demand. In an abbreviated session this week, the House is scheduled to consider the budget resolution and a voting rights bill but not the infrastructure plan.
"Any delay to passing the budget resolution threatens the timetable for delivering the historic progress and the transformative vision that Democrats share," Pelosi said in a "dear colleague" letter this weekend.
The nine moderate Democrats published an op-ed with The Washington Post Sunday night reiterating their demand that the House take up the infrastructure bill before turning to the budget resolution.
"Time kills deals. This is an old business saying and the essence of why we are pushing to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill through Congress and immediately to President Biden’s desk — as the president himself requested the day after it passed the Senate," the lawmakers wrote.
"The challenge we face right now is that there is a standoff with some of our colleagues who have decided to hold the infrastructure bill hostage for months, or kill it altogether, if they don’t get what they want in the next bill — a largely undefined $3.5 trillion reconciliation package."
Democrats control the House by 220-212, so the group of moderates could easily sink the budget resolution, if at least four vote against it.
She committed to moving the infrastructure bill by Oct. 1 along with the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation spending package that would implement the spending and tax provisions authorized by the budget resolution.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Monday morning to prepare debate rules for the budget resolution, voting rights bill and the infrastructure measure.
Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse West
Pelosi insisted that the House won't reduce the size of the reconciliation measure despite resistance from moderates in both the House and the Senate.
"This is the number that has been agreed to in the Senate and is now before us in the House. Accordingly, we will write a reconciliation bill with the Senate that is consistent with that topline," Pelosi wrote.
Two Senate Democrats who voted for the budget resolution earlier this month, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have both indicated they would not support a reconciliation package that ultimately spends $3.5 trillion.
The reconciliation package could have broad implications for agriculture. The budget resolution would authorize $135 billion in new spending for conservation programs, research, forestry and child nutrition, and Biden has proposed paying for the package in part by taxing capital gains at death, effectively nullifying the benefit of stepped-up basis on inherited assets. Taxes on family farms would be deferred, but not eliminated, for as long as they stay in operation.
The infrastructure bill would authorize $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, waterways, broadband and other needs.
For more news, go to Agri-Pulse.com.