Working with moderates, Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives successfully pushed President Joe Biden’s multibillion-dollar budget plan through a critical procedural hurdle on Tuesday, putting an end to a potentially dangerous stalemate and restoring the party’s domestic infrastructure programme to its previous course.
The vote, which took place in the face of strong Republican opposition, was a first step toward drafting Biden’s $3.5 billion reconstruction plan, which is expected to be completed this autumn. The close win showed the ability of a small number of voices to alter the discussion and anticipated the difficulties that still threaten to derail the president’s programme in the coming months.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned her colleagues that the proposal would result in a government investment on par with the New Deal and the Great Society, which had been halted by a turbulent 24 hours before the vote.
Until the stalemate is resolved, the stark disagreements between moderate and progressive members of Congress, who together constitute the Democrats’ razor-thin House majority, will be placed on pause. It was a striking reminder of the profound divides within the Democratic Party that threaten to derail Biden’s ambitious rebuilding programme when the drama erupted during what was supposed by legislators, when they returned to work for a few days in August, they expected it to be a short session.
Democrats support the president’s ambitious plans, while Republicans are totally opposed, arguing that Congress should instead focus its attention on the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. As a consequence, Democratic leaders only have a handful of votes left to use in the Senate. There is now significant power available to any group of legislators who wish to have the ability to make or break a deal, as they will be in a position to do in the coming weeks when moderates and progressives write and vote on the larger $3.5 trillion plan, which will be released in the coming weeks.
More importantly, the moderates were seeking assurances from Pelosi that whatever version of the broader bill they drafted in the House will be the same in the Senate, setting the stage for yet another showdown between the party’s competing flanks and their vision for the country’s reconstruction needs.
As part of the deal, the budget resolution and the commitment to have a vote on the bipartisan package in September will be included in a procedural vote known as the Rule, which will take place on Tuesday.