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House Dems Return to DC to Advance Biden's Massive Spending Plans Amid Party Rift

(AP Photo/Nick Otto, File)
(AP Photo/Nick Otto, File)

House lawmakers are back early from their August vacation, called in by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move ahead with the President's economic agenda.  

It includes two massive pieces of legislation totaling close to five trillion dollars. These next two days are expected to be what some call a "political game of chicken" between moderate Democrats and Progressives. 

A House procedural vote is the next test for President Biden's sprawling economic agenda.  

The Senate has already passed both bills: a $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure agreement and a $3.5 trillion dollar budget that would expand the social safety net while hiking taxes on upper earners. 

Coaxing her caucus in a letter, Pelosi insists delays will put the party's policy goals for "President Biden's transformative vision" and "historic progress" in jeopardy.  

House lawmakers are back in Washington, D.C. after a shorter than usual August recess. The White House is endorsing Pelosi's plans for a procedural vote that would advance the infrastructure, social spending, and voting rights plan to be followed by a budget resolution. 

"When you take this bill together with the American Rescue Plan and the Reconciliation bill that is getting underway, we are implementing policies that will save people's lives for the better. Housing, clean energy, the climate crisis," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 
"We've never had a hearing on this budget resolution and it's heading straight to the floor without any amendments from any Democrats or Republicans. I think that's a broken process," said Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).

If Pelosi's party members stick together, it would allow those measures to pass without a Republican vote. That party unity, however, could be loosening. 

Fearing the budget plan could be scaled back, Pelosi and progressives want that bill passed first.  

Nine moderate Democrats, concerned over the trillion-dollar price tag are threatening to vote against it, unless the bipartisan infrastructure bill is first in line.

Two weeks ago, the Senate passed that $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan with the help of 19 Republican votes. 

"It's been a long and winding road. But we have persisted and now we have arrived," said Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

The massive budget spending plan has zero GOP support, meaning it could be Democrats that kill it.

To win over both Progressives and Centrists, Pelosi has outlined a strategy to vote on the two bills only after the Senate has approved both of them.  To pull it off, she can only lose three House votes in the process.

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