House Dems gear up to vote on Biden’s agenda

House Democratic leadership teed up an early Friday vote on a sweeping social spending bill aimed at tackling a number of the Biden administration’s priorities and the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had told members that she wanted to see a vote on both bills on Thursday, after weeks of struggling to rally the entire caucus around both measures.

But lawmakers struggled to iron out a handful of sticking points ranging from language on immigration reform to a provision related to state and local tax deductions (SALT). 

The speaker then announced on Thursday evening that the House Rules Committee would convene, with the House scheduled to gavel back into session at 8 a.m. on Friday to complete the chamber’s work on both bills.

Pelosi and her whip team worked furiously to get support from hesitant moderates, who expressed reservations over the lack of scoring from the Congressional Budget Office, climate language and immigration. They’re also contending with the probability the measure will be heavily amended in the upper chamber due to centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) voiced opposition to a number of the provisions included in the House bill. 

The decision to bring the bills to the floor comes in the wake of Democrats having endured an electoral wreckage in multiple state races on Tuesday, with leaders and top White House officials arguing it is a necessary to act on delivering on their agenda ahead of the 2022 midterms, where they face an uphill battle in retaining control of the lower chamber.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to see a vote on both bills by Friday.
AP

President Biden made calls to several vulnerable members who were not fully on board with the bill in an attempt to sway their support, a senior Democratic aide with knowledge confirmed to The Post.

Pelosi opted to shift strategies after multiple unsuccessful attempts at passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill, with progressives asserting that the two bills should be brought to the floor within the same timeframe, fearing they would lose their leverage on the larger package.

Despite pushback from moderates on multiple provisions, Pelosi called on her chairman to include language to provide paid family and medical leave — a sticking point for Manchin — in an attempt to ramp up pressure on Senate Democrats as they look to pass the measure using the reconciliation package along party lines.

President Biden made calls to House members who were not yet on board with the bill.
President Biden made calls to House members who were not yet on board with the bill.
AP

Last minute changes were made to the SALT provision, with the cap increasing $10,000 to $80,00 through 2030 before returning to $10,000 in 2031.

Eleventh hour changes were also made after negotiators struck a deal on drug pricing to provide an extra year — moving it from 12 years to 13 years — before Medicare is permitted to negotiate prices on biologics.

The whip count on the reconciliation bill remains unclear, but leaders have repeatedly asserted in the past that they will not bring either measure to the floor without the votes needed to pass.

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