House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday night that her caucus has “overwhelmingly” signaled that they would prefer to do “fewer things well” in their sweeping spending package instead of cutting more proposed programs by a smaller amount.
“In order to pass both the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill on time, it is essential that difficult decisions must be made very soon,” Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague letter on Monday. “Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from Members is to do fewer things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and responsibly address the climate crisis: a Build Back Better agenda for jobs and the planet For The Children!”
Though Pelosi suggested that some programs may be cut at the expense of others, it is unclear which programs will remain.
The Democratic Party has split over the bill’s size and scope, with moderates insisting that the original $3.5 trillion topline shrink significantly. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia first said that a package totaling $1.5 trillion was the most spending he would support, but he recently signaled that he may be open to supporting a bill costing between $1.9 and $2.2 trillion, depending on its specifics.
Progressives, however, have pushed for a larger budget, and they have vowed to tank the infrastructure bill if it comes up for a vote before the budget bill passes.
The House is on recess this week, but it will briefly return Tuesday to approve a Senate-passed bill to raise the debt ceiling until December, when Congress will also need to fund the government for the 2022 fiscal year.
Pelosi referred to Tuesday’s vote in her letter. “We must lift the debt ceiling,” she said, “and hope that we have a unanimous Democratic vote and perhaps a bipartisan vote to do so.”
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