A group of lawmakers led by U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District is calling on Democratic leaders to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill in the coming weeks without waiting for a party-line $3.5 trillion budget bill put forward in the Senate earlier this week.
Democrats including President Joe Biden touted a “two-track” plan while pushing both a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was negotiated on a bipartisan basis and the more recently unveiled budget bill, which includes a range of liberal priorities, including added services as part of Medicare, funding for climate initiatives and an extension of the new child tax credit.
That push has been tenuous. Progressive Democrats have suggested their support for it could depend on ensuring that the larger budget bill also passes. Party leaders have wavered with Biden indicating and then backing off the notion that he would not sign one bill without the other. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also indicated the bills could be linked.
The infrastructure bill may arrive in the House sooner, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, indicated Thursday that a procedural vote could come next week. The budget bill has to go through the reconciliation process, which will take at least a few weeks. Neither bill has been released in full yet.
In a Thursday letter, Golden and nine other Democratic representatives called on Pelosi to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill as soon as it arrives in the House, rather than waiting for the budget bill.
“We strongly urge — and pledge to work with you to bring about — a House vote on this legislation before the August recess and without any unnecessary or artificial delay upon arrival from the Senate,” the members wrote.
Golden’s stance mirrors that of Sen. Susan Collins, who said Wednesday that she did not think the $3.5 trillion budget proposal should affect how Republicans feel about the infrastructure bill. But 10 Republicans will still have to vote in favor of the latter proposal in the Senate before it can come up in the House.