Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal slammed members of her own party Tuesday who have misgivings about the Build Back Better Act.
“Other people are willing to crash the entire Democratic agenda by refusing to come together on the entire reconciliation bill,” she told Brianna Keilar of a moderate faction in the Democratic Party, led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer. The moderates have balked at the overall price tag of the Build Back Better Act, as well as provisions like a prescription drug pricing control.
Other members, like North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams, have expressed concern that other priorities, like funding for historically black colleges and universities, will not be funded by the Build Back Better Act.
Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, has promised that her group of left-wing Democrats will tank the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) if it is not brought to the floor for a vote at the same time as the Build Back Better Act. (RELATED: Sanders: If Republicans Won’t Support $3.5 Trillion Wish List, ‘Then We Have To Do It Alone’)
Jayapal met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who scheduled a vote for the IIJA on Sept. 27, on Tuesday, and is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss passing the bills. She has repeatedly said that more than half of her caucus, which has 94 members, is prepared to vote against the IIJA.
“Very little gets done at the end of the year, and nothing will get done next year,” she predicted of Congress’ legislative schedule if Democrats do not pass the Build Back Better Act.
“If you want to vote against paid leave or child care, to me, that is not a moderate position,” Jayapal said of Gottheimer’s faction. “I want to be very clear, we are the only people in the room right now that have said we want both bills done. There are other people in the Democratic Party who are saying we only want the infrastructure bill and maybe or maybe not we’ll get to the other bill. We are saying let’s stick to the deal that was made, both bills so that we can deliver real results.”
“If we don’t do the rest of the package now, we will not have child care, we will not have paid leave, we will not have any of those things,” she added.