Democrats Renew Pledge To Hold Infrastructure Votes By End Of October

Screenshot via C-SPAN

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are planning to hold votes on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Build Back Better Act (BBB) by the end of October, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday.

The House will aim to consider the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act this work period,” Hoyer said during a floor speech announcing the lower chamber’s upcoming schedule.

After initially promising moderates that she would hold a vote on the IIJA by Sept. 30, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pushed the legislative schedule back by a month. She pinpointed Oct. 31 as the new deadline for both bills in an Oct. 2 “Dear Colleagues” letter.

Following a morning meeting with President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Pelosi described herself to reporters as “very optimistic” that the bills would pass within the new time-frame.

During his Thursday town hall, hosted by CNN, Biden responded, “I think so,” to Anderson Cooper’s question about whether he was “close” to a deal on both bills.

“I was a senator for 370 years, and I was relatively good at putting together deals,” the president said.

However, Biden brushed off Cooper’s question about whether or not the deal would be in place before he attends the Glasgow Climate Summit, which begins on Oct. 31.

“That’s like me asking you, ‘are you sure your next show is going to be a success,'” he responded, to audience laughter.

Despite the optimism, Democrats have not agreed on a top-line number for the Build Back Better Act, which they hope to pass through the budget reconciliation process. Biden has said in meetings with members that he expects the bill to cost around $2 trillion, a number that is above the limit set by Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and below the floor set by the left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). (RELATED: Top Democrat Admits Congress Can Raise Debt Limit Through Reconciliation. How Would It Work?)

Democrats have also not agreed on specific provisions for the legislation related to paid family leave, green energy and prescription drug prices.

The Senate passed the IIJA in June, although members of the CPC have promised to block it unless the BBB is brought up for a vote at the same time.

Manchin, a key moderate, has expressed doubts that Democrats will meet Pelosi’s deadline.

“There is an awful lot to go, I don’t know how that would happen,” he told Bloomberg on Oct. 18.