Progressives Dig In On $3.5T Budget After Pelosi, Moderate Democrats Strike Infrastructure Deal

Progressives are setting their sights on the $3.5 trillion budget bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and moderate Democrats reached a compromise on infrastructure legislation.

The chamber cleared a key procedural hurdle Tuesday, voting 220-212 to advance the budget resolution—which will allow Democrats to pass much more of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda, and without needing Republican support.

The progress came after days of internal infighting among leadership and the so-called "Mod Squad" of nine centrist Democrats, who demanded the chamber vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure before moving on to reconciliation.

After striking a deal with Pelosi, which included adding a provision specifying the House would advance the infrastructure bill by September 27, each of the moderate lawmakers fell into step and voted for the budget measure.

Pelosi also stressed Tuesday that her goal is to put forward a budget reconciliation bill that could pass through the Senate, which means that it may be a smaller amount than House progressives are hoping for.

But progressives have said nothing has changed on their end following Tuesday's developments, threatening to bail on the bipartisan infrastructure framework if moderates attempt to force a vote on it before the reconciliation bill is done.

"You will see the progressive wing squaring off against the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party in a full-on face off over the next 30 plus days," Joseph Geevarghese, the executive director of the grassroots group Our Revolution, told Newsweek.

Geevarghese added that the "fight is going to continue" to make sure parts of the budget—which for progressives include expanding Medicare, ending subsidies to fossil fuel corporations, and provisions from the Protecting the Right to Organize Act—aren't "watered down."

House committees have been instructed to finish writing pieces of the reconciliation package by September 15.

Progressives Dig In On $3.5T Budget
Progressives are setting their sights on the $3.5 trillion budget bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and moderate Democrats reached a compromise on infrastructure legislation. In this photo, Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Pramila Jayapal, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Ilhan Omar hold a press conference to introduce college affordability legislation outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2019. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders, who was one of the chief authors of the $3.5 trillion budget proposal, issued several tweets stating "no reconciliation, no deal" following Tuesday's vote.

Unless we pass the reconciliation bill:

-Seniors won't get dental, vision, hearing & home care

-Drug prices will soar

-Families will be denied $300 a month per kid

-Climate change will worsen.

-Families won't receive childcare & affordable housing

No reconciliation, no deal

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 24, 2021

Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote on Twitter that the House first has to "deliver once-in-a-generation, popular, and necessary investments in child care, paid leave, climate action, health care, housing, education, and more to families"

"Then, we'll pass the infrastructure bill to invest in our roads, bridges, and waterways," she said.

Biden on Tuesday praised Pelosi for her "masterful" leadership so far in keeping after House Democrats in lockstep to advance his economic agenda.

"The bottom line is, in my view, we're a step closer to truly investing in the American people, positioning our economy for long-term growth, and building an America that out-competes the rest of the world," Biden told reporters at the White House. "My goal is to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not just the top down. And that's what we're on our way of doing."