- Nancy Pelosi just brushed back Mitch McConnell’s demands on infrastructure.
- She’s holding firm on her commitment to clear a bipartisan deal only after Senate Democrats approve a party-line bill.
- The reconciliation package is poised to be full of social initiatives the GOP fiercely opposes.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding firm on her commitment to not approve a $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure agreement until a party-line package reaches the lower chamber.
“The statement that I made as such is the statement I stand by,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference, adding that House Democrats are “very pleased” with the bipartisan deal struck between President Joe Biden and a group of centrist Senate Democrats and Republicans.
“What I said last week and I reiterate now is that in the House of Representatives, that particular version … is something that we’ll take up once we see what the budget parameters are,” she said.
Pelosi was turning down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s demand to uncouple a bipartisan agreement that would pump money into roads, highways, and broadband from a Democratic-only spending plan. That follow-up package is poised to contain initiatives many Democrats favor, like paid leave and tuition-free community college.
Last week, Pelosi said House Democrats would not take up a bipartisan agreement unless the Senate clears a party-line package. Biden initially made the same commitment, but reversed himself after that triggered an uproar among Republicans.
House Democrats are starting to assemble an infrastructure package that will move through reconciliation, a laborious legislative path for certain budgetary bills. A reconciliation package can clear the Senate with only a simple majority of 51 votes, meaning every Democratic Senator must commit to it.
They’re also poised to approve a $715 billion surface transportation and water infrastructure bill on Thursday, which will likely serve as the starting point for House Democrats in negotiations with their Senate counterparts.
Politico Playbook reported on Wednesday that Biden won’t seek to renegotiate elements he’s already agreed on with the GOP, citing a White House official. Last week, as he touted the bipartisan agreement, the president said he wouldn’t attempt to add more Amtrak funding in a party-line spending package.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.