Pelosi Says It’s ‘Self-Evident’ Reconciliation Spending Will Be Less Than $3.5 Trillion
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she expects the final price tag of Democrats’ budget reconciliation package to come down from the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag, also signaling that a vote on a separate infrastructure bill could be postponed.
Pelosi said in an ABC This Week interview that it “seems self-evident” the final price tag will be below $3.5 trillion after negotiations with moderates and determinations from the Senate parliamentarian about what can be included in a reconciliation bill.
Pelosi did not say which spending could be decreased, though she said the length of some social programs could be shortened and pointed to spending on climate change, health care, child care and early childhood education as areas of potential discussion.
Pelosi asserted that all Democrats, including those who want less spending, “support the vision” of President Joe Biden – a claim confirmed by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who said in a CNN interview, “I support reconciliation, and so do my colleagues.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) says dozens of Progressive Caucus members plan to vote against the infrastructure bill unless reconciliation is voted on in both chambers first, also signaling $3.5 trillion is the minimum price tag progressives see as acceptable.
As for the timing of a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which appears on track to fail without a prior reconciliation vote, Pelosi said she is “never bringing to the floor a bill that doesn’t have the votes.”
Pelosi continued that “you cannot choose the date” and “you have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time,” though she added, “We’re going to pass the bill this week.”
Democrats have spent months attempting to hammer out a compromise on the two bills proposed by Biden: the reconciliation package, which will greatly expand social programs and increase taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans to pay for it; and the infrastructure bill, which focuses on roads, bridges, waterways, public transit and other “core” infrastructure areas, and which is largely paid for by repurposing old coronavirus relief funds.
2,465. That’s the number of pages in the reconciliation bill text approved by the House Budget Committee yesterday, which is expected to be filed during a pro forma session on Sunday for debate on the House floor later this week.
What To Watch For
With a three-vote margin in the House and a zero-vote margin in the Senate, nearly every Democrat in Congress will need to vote yes on the reconciliation bill in order for it to pass. That includes Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), both of whom have said they oppose a $3.5 trillion price tag.