U.S. House approves $3.5 trillion budget blueprint and advances $1 trillion infrastructure bill


The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a budget framework that will pave the way for Democrats to spend up to $3.5 trillion on a sweeping economic package to expand the social safety net that President Joe Biden has made a signature agenda item.

The House vote came after painstaking negotiations between Democratic leaders and a group of moderates yielded a compromise that paved the way for passage. But deadlock over the issue led to a standoff that derailed efforts to move forward Monday evening. The issue underscored the challenge leadership faces in attempting to unite the party's moderate and progressive wings.
Ultimately, the House voted on a rule to advance both the budget deal and a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Due to a procedural maneuver, passage of the rule also approved the budget resolution, bypassing a separate vote. In a concession to moderates, the rule also directs the House to take up the bipartisan bill by September 27.
    The Senate approved the budget resolution earlier this month. Budget resolutions do not become law and are not signed by the President, but the framework will act as an important policy blueprint. Both chambers must adopt the resolution for Democrats to use a process known as budget reconciliation to later pass legislation addressing the climate crisis, aid for families, health care and more that cannot be defeated by a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
      The budget resolution includes a set of instructions for House and Senate committees that will allow them to write reconciliation legislation with a total price tag of as much as $3.5 trillion. The final reconciliation package, once it is drafted, is expected to be considered in the fall.
      "With regard to the $3.5 trillion topline number for this package, the President has been clear: this is the number that will honor his vision to Build Back Better," Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats over the weekend. "This is the number that has been agreed to in the Senate and is now before us in the House. Accordingly, we will write a reconciliation bill with the Senate that is consistent with that topline."
      Divisions among Democrats have been prominent as the party has pushed ahead with the effort. In the House, moderates pushed to first vote on a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill prior to voting on the budget resolution, while progressives took a stand counter to that by saying they would not support the bipartisan plan on its own without the larger reconciliation package.
      The deadlock forced House leadership into negotiations late into the evening on Monday attempting to reach a deal with moderates that would allow them to move ahead with a vote to pass the resolution, but shortly after midnight members were notified that no further votes were expected in the House for the night.
      Both moderates and Pelosi sounded optimistic by late morning that such a deal was within reach.
      "I'm sorry that we couldn't land the plane last night, and that you all had to wait," Pelosi told her caucus on Tuesday morning, according to a Democratic aide in the room. "But that's just part of the legislative progress ... I think we're close to landing the plane."

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