Pelosi Won't 'Subscribe' to Progressives' Senate BBB Vote Deadline (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Friday, 28 January 2022 10:10 PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that she "wouldn't subscribe" to the Congressional Progressive Caucus March 1 deadline for a Senate vote on the "Build Back Better" bill.
"We will pass the bill when we have the votes to pass the bill, and we cannot stop pressing for that," The Hill reported Pelosi said Friday during an event promoting the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill at San Fransisco International Airport. "We have a number of pieces of legislation that we're working on, but the ['Build Back Better'] is absolutely essential. I hope that they're right. I don't subscribe to any particular date."
During her remarks at the airport, which is scheduled to get around $49 million as part of the bipartisan infrastructure deal signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year, Pelosi called the March 1 deadline urged by progressives in the House "an aspiration."
Progressive caucus leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called on the Senate Thursday to get the budget reconciliation bill containing many key Democratic and progressive agenda items passed by March 1 before President Joe Biden gives his annual State of the Union address.
"In the months since negotiations around the Build Back Better Act stalled, the case for this legislation has only become more urgent," Jayapal, who chairs the group of liberal lawmakers on Capitol Hill, wrote in the Thursday statement to The Hill.
"There is agreement among Senate Democrats on significant parts of this bill: climate action, the care economy, taking on Big Pharma's price gouging, and lowering healthcare costs. There is agreement on the need to reduce rising costs facing ordinary Americans — and that is exactly what Build Back Better does."
The legislation passed the House in December but is stalled in the Senate by two Democratic members of the upper chamber.
Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, oppose the almost $2 trillion bill that includes expanded healthcare and child care, as well as free college tuition and several elements to battle climate change.
For the bill to pass the Senate, it must have all 48 Democrats and two independents on board, reaching a 50-50 tie with Republicans who all oppose the bill.
Vice President Kamala Harris could then cast the tie-breaking vote and send the legislation to Biden for his signature.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that the Biden administration would be patient, rather than try to make the March 1 deadline set by progressives.
"No, we have not set a deadline. No," The Hill reported Psaki said on Wednesday.