House Democrats said Wednesday they were switching tactics and plowing ahead with a vote on President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from a grim night for Democrats Youngkin wins Virginia governor’s race Michelle Wu elected as Boston’s first female mayor MORE’s sweeping social spending and climate package later this week, without getting a commitment from key Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Biden looks to tackle methane Biden rallies nations to cut methane emissions Democrats give Manchin earful on lack of progress on spending bill MORE (D-W.Va.) that he will support the legislation.
For weeks, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Citi — Dems edge closer to deal on Biden agenda Moderate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package Democrats on cusp of sweeping deal on Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) and her leadership team had worked to strike a deal with Manchin and fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaDemocrats give Manchin earful on lack of progress on spending bill Democrats on cusp of sweeping deal on Biden agenda Biden says Manchin will support final version of spending bill MORE (D-Ariz.) on the front end before bringing Biden’s Build Back Better plan to the floor, a strategy Democrats believed would smooth the bill’s path to the president’s desk.
But Manchin has refused to sign off on the package, saying Wednesday that the GOP’s electoral victories in Virginia on Tuesday should cause Democrats to pump the brakes of Biden’s $1.75 trillion spending plan.
Frustrated House leaders instead pressed their foot on the gas pedal, pledging to bring both the Senate-passed infrastructure package and social safety net bill to the floor.
The House Rules Committee, which is controlled by Pelosi, was meeting Wednesday evening on a still-evolving 2,135-page Build Back Better bill that was revised to include new immigration, tax, prescription drug pricing and other provisions.
Pelosi announced earlier in the day that House Democrats were putting four weeks of permanent paid family and medical leave back in the package, much to the chagrin of Manchin.
“We’re gonna get ‘em done,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US ‘deeply alarmed’ by reports of military takeover in Sudan US ‘deeply alarmed’ by reports of military takeover in Sudan Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief MORE (D-N.Y.), a Pelosi ally, said of the pair of bills after leaving a 90-minute closed-door Democratic caucus meeting. “I think we’re together. I think there’s been a lot of progress. We’re gonna get it done.”
A Pelosi spokesman also confirmed that votes will be held this week and that the Speaker plans to bring Build Back Better to the floor first. But she has vowed to hold votes on Biden’s agenda in the past, only to run into opposition from her own party that forced her to delay the votes.
A handful of moderates, led by Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyModerate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package Top Democrat dismisses need for budget report before House votes on spending plan Progressives win again: No infrastructure vote Thursday MORE (D-Fla.), are demanding a score from the Congressional Budget Office on the social spending bill before they agree to vote for it.
“Her well of confidence remains undiscovered by all of us who seek it,” said one moderate Democrat.
“There is risk because it’s got to pass the floor here, and then once it gets to the Senate, it’s got to survive over there,” said a second House Democrat. “It shows how much everybody wants to see movement.”
Pelosi’s change in strategy underscores the desire by House Democrats to show some kind of progress on Biden’s economic agenda after months of messy, intraparty infighting over policy and political tactics. Both the House and Senate are slated to be on recess next week for Veterans Day, and rank-and-file Democrats are desperate to have a successful vote that they can talk about with constituents and voters back home — especially after their big loss in Virginia.
But it’s unclear how things would play out in the Senate if the House manages to pass Build Back Better. House Democrats said such a move would put pressure on Manchin to reject the package and bring the two sides closer to a deal that’s been elusive for months.
A vote is “an indication of what the House is willing to support; obviously there is another part of the process in the Senate,” Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDemocratic reps call for investigation into Texas border policy Democrats call for State to lift ban on embassies discussing same-sex marriage The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles MORE (D-Texas) told The Hill after the caucus meeting. “You know, at some point you have to take action.”