Nancy Pelosi Accused of Betrayal as Frustrated Democratic Moderates Lash Out

Moderate Democrats lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday after President Joe Biden made clear that the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill won't pass unless Democrats reach a deal on the $3.5 trillion spending bill.

Pelosi promised moderates that she'd bring the infrastructure bill to the House floor for a vote on September 27, before extending the deadline to September 30. Pelosi delayed the vote again after progressives refused to vote for the bill unless the larger spending bill is passed in tandem.

"While I have great respect for the Speaker, I believe her decision to again delay a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is wrong," Representative Stephanie Murphy said in a statement.

Nancy Pelosi Kyrsten Sinema infrastructure moderates Speaker
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) departs a Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol October 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

"This promise was enshrined in a House resolution that every Democrat supported," the Florida Democrat added. "This written commitment was the only reason there were enough votes in the House to even start the reconciliation process—that is, to begin the process of writing the Build Back Better Act."

Representative Josh Gottheimer, another moderate from New Jersey, accused Pelosi of breaching "her firm, public commitment to Members of Congress and the American people to hold a vote and to pass the once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure bill."

"We cannot let this small faction on the far left ... destroy the President's agenda and stop the creation of two million jobs a year—including for the millions of hard-working men and women of labor," he wrote in a statement.

Both Gottheimer and Murphy are members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a 19-member caucus in the House comprising of Democrats who identify as centrists or conservatives.

Senator Krysten Sinema, one of the two key moderate holdouts, accused Pelosi of "betraying" the trust of the American people by backtracking on her promise.

"Over the course of this year, Democratic leaders have made conflicting promises that could not all be kept," the Arizona Democrat wrote in a statement. "Canceling the infrastructure vote further erodes that trust. More importantly, it betrays the trust the American people have placed in their elected leaders."

The infrastructure vote was delayed amid a standoff between moderates and progressives in the party over the size and scope of the spending bill, a crucial part of Biden's domestic agenda known as the Build Back Better Act.

Moderates want the infrastructure bill to be passed immediately, but progressives will only support it if the larger package is passed in tandem.

Biden and Pelosi sided with progressives after a closed-door meeting on Friday, with both saying that infrastructure will pass once Democrats reach a deal on the larger bill.

"It doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter whether it's in six minutes, six days or six weeks. We're going to get it done," the president said.

Pelosi added, "Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill."

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi representatives for comment.