House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made clear to her colleagues that she will not move a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill seen as key to codifying much of the Democratic agenda into law through the House without an assurance that it will pass the evenly-split Senate.
“I have promised members that we would not have House members vote for a bill with a higher topline than would be passed by the Senate. Hopefully, that will be at the $3.5 trillion number,” she wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter.
Pelosi noted that the bill will have to be amended to comply with the Senate’s budget reconciliation process,
“We must be prepared for adjustments according to the Byrd rule and the agreed to number,” she wrote, referencing the rule that prohibits the inclusion of “extraneous” measures in reconciliation.
Although some Democrats have called for the House to vote on the bill as soon as possible even if two centrist votes in the Senate, Senators Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) haven’t yet signed off on it, Pelosi wants to avoid a repeat of 2009. That year, the last time Democrats controlled Congress, the House voted on sweeping climate legislation that never even made it to the Senate floor. The blowback cost Democrats control of the House in the following year’s midterm elections.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.