Liberals on Thursday vowed to block a popular infrastructure bill — a central piece of President Biden’s domestic agenda — just hours after the president urged their support and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced plans to bring the bipartisan proposal to the House floor for a vote the same day.
The move by dozens of members in the Congressional Progressive Caucus was hardly a departure of tactics: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the group, has said for months that liberals would oppose the infrastructure bill until there was a concrete agreement with Democratic centrists on a larger social spending package.
Still, their decision to hold that line constitutes a remarkable escalation of the high-stakes power struggle between Pelosi and the progressive members of her own caucus, who said they simply can’t back the infrastructure bill without greater assurances that a larger social spending bill will contain their priorities.
In an exceptional interaction Thursday, Pelosi walked into a strategic meeting of the Progressive Caucus, only to leave a short time later without speaking to the group.
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