ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos pressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on divisions within her party during a Sunday morning interview.
Pelosi joined Stephanopoulos for a brief conversation on “This Week,” and although she touted having the support of 95% of her caucus, Stephanopoulos was quick to point out that Democrats had such slim margins in both the House and Senate that they needed 98%-99% in order to get anything passed without support from Republicans. (RELATED: Democrats Have ‘Reached Agreement On A Framework’ For Reconciliation, Schumer Says)
Stephanopoulos began the interview by pointing out just how much was at stake on Capitol Hill going into the next few weeks, noting that in addition to the massive infrastructure and reconciliation bills, Congress also needed to deal with the possibility of raising the debt ceiling in order to continue funding the government.
“You called the next few days a time of intensity for Congress. Have you ever faced a Congress with so much at stake?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Every time we face a challenge, it’s a stark challenge whether it’s the Affordable Care Act or other legislation we’ve passed in the previous administration,” Pelosi replied.
She went on to say that she was proud of the vision President Joe Biden had put forth in his agenda and the support that Democrats had been able to generate for it thus far.
“This is the vision of the president, and he has said that while he wants to pass the infrastructure bill and we will, that he will not confine his vision for the future to just that bill, that it had to be about Building Back Better, and Building Back Better has the support of over 95% of our caucus. So when you say Democrats divided, no. Overwhelming – I’ve never seen actually over 95% of the caucus just about for anything.”
Pelosi went on to say that there were a few who still disagreed — in particular with the size of the package that had been put forth — but that she respected their opinions and judgment and was working to find common ground.
“We will make progress on it this week,” she added.
“So make progress. Not necessarily pass,” Stephanopoulos pressed. “You said you have support of 95% of Democrats. The problem is you need 98% or 99% to pass the bills.”
He went on to note that several in the House had already threatened to stall the infrastructure bill if the reconciliation package was not agreed upon first — and the reconciliation package faced daunting objections in the Senate from more moderate members like Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
“More than 50 members will vote no if you first don’t have agreement on the broader social investment bill. So are you confident these progressive members will vote yes even though she says no?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Let me just say we’re going to pass the bill this week,” Pelosi said, noting that she had not set a hard date for a vote on infrastructure. “We’ll bring the bill forward tomorrow for consideration, but, you know, I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes.”