House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed a procedural vote this month that would establish the future approval of two economic measures crucial to President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, a move that Democratic leaders hope will garner critical votes from the moderate discontent of the party.

In a letter Sunday to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi, D-California, suggested the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both a budget resolution and a separate resolution. infrastructure bill. The draft budget would open the door for Congress to later consider a separate 10-year bill of $ 3.5 billion for health, education and environmental programs.

Nine centrist democrats said Friday they would oppose the budget resolution until the House first passes its top priority: a $ 1 trillion package of highway, rail and other infrastructure projects. Faced with strong Republican opposition, Democrats cannot lose more than three defectors to pass legislation through a narrowly divided chamber.

On Sunday night, the moderates issued a statement saying they still wanted a vote on the final approval of the infrastructure bill to get ahead of the budget. They stopped short of saying that they would oppose Pelosi’s plan to initially push both measures together, suggesting that the speaker’s move had bought some time but left the battle unsolved.

“As Democrats, we remain committed to working with our colleagues to advance the president’s agenda,” they wrote.

The Senate passed the infrastructure measure last week with bipartisan support, and the moderates want a quick victory by sending it to Biden for his signature. Democrats are calling on the House to return from the August 23 summer recess.

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By forcing the House to vote on joint advancement of both measures, Democratic leaders hope to pressure moderates to join the rest of the party in advancing its economic and social agenda toward eventual final approval.

Strengthening the social safety net, fighting climate change and creating jobs are among the priorities of Biden and the Democrats. A defeat, especially at this early stage, would be profoundly detrimental to the party’s legislative goals and a political coup before next year’s elections for control of Congress.

“These bills will be the most important and far-reaching initiatives any of us have ever undertaken in our official lives,” Pelosi wrote.

Even so, his party is divided.

The number one goal for progressive Democrats is to pass $ 3.5 trillion in spending increases and tax cuts for health care, education, social safety net and climate change programs. Increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations would finance much of it.

Pelosi takes a step to quell the budget rebellion of the moderates. #USPoli

Passing the budget resolution is critical because it would protect the $ 3.5 trillion bill from Republican filibusters in the Senate, or delays, that would kill it.

The House and Senate hope to have initial versions of that huge measure ready by mid-September and pass a final package quickly after that, but that may be optimistic. Even once the budget resolution passes, the conflicting priorities of moderates and progressives are sure to resurface during work on that follow-up bill, and finding the near-unanimous support Democrats will need won’t be easy.

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Moderate Democrats, including many from swing districts facing risky prospects in next year’s election, think the bill’s price tag is too high and worry that the Republican Party will hit them with campaign accusations of backing tax increases.

So progressives fear that moderates will oppose the $ 3.5 trillion bill if the House passes infrastructure legislation first. To maintain leverage over moderates, Pelosi has repeatedly said that the House will not vote on the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes and sends the $ 3.5 billion measure to the House.

When asked on Sunday if Pelosi could abandon her strategy of cracking down on infrastructure until the social and environmental bill is ready, spokesman Drew Hammill said: “There is no change in her position.”

When the House returns this month, it will also vote on revised legislation that addresses federal oversight of election laws in many states, Pelosi wrote, another Democratic priority. That measure is likely to pass the House, but it will bog down in the Senate 50-50.

Pelosi praised the Senate infrastructure measure, but suggested the House might not pass it.

He said the legislation does not “include the entire vision of President Biden and the Democrats in Congress.” He said House lawmakers “are reviewing the bill.”

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