House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday defended progressives amid party infighting over the bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation bill after blowing past several deadlines and quickly approaching another.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pelosi disagreed with host Jake Tapper after he said “moderates are frustrated” because several deadlines to pass the two major pieces of legislation were missed “because of the progressives.”
“No, wait a minute,” Pelosi responded. “There was no deadline that was missed because of the progressives.”
The speaker appeared to blame moderates like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for holding up the reconciliation bill, which was initially valued at $3.5 trillion.
“The deadline was missed because they changed from $3.5 [trillion] to one-half that,” she said. “And we have had to go in – it’s land meet land. Everything is good in the bill, [so] what do you cut?”
Pelosi declined to criticize the moderate holdouts, saying, “I’m respectful of everybody’s point of view.” She said the House must pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan, which already passed the Senate, by Oct. 31, but progressives have vowed to block it if a deal isn’t reached on the larger spending bill. Pelosi said she’s confident an “agreement” will be reached on both pieces of legislation by the deadline and that 90% of it had already been agreed on.
“That’s the plan,” she added.
Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a progressive, told “Fox News Sunday” that President Biden would not be happy if Congress can only pass the infrastructure bill without the spending bill before he attends the COP26 climate conference next month in Glasgow, Scotland.
“The president looked us in the eye and said, ‘I need this before I go represent the United States in Glasgow,'” Khanna recalled. “American prestige is on the line. Many members understand that, we’re working very hard to get a deal. I understand we’re close and I’m confident we’re gonna get there.”
Khanna said he also wouldn’t vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill. Responding to Pelosi’s comments, he said that reaching an agreement on the spending bill’s “framework” would be enough for him even if the bill’s text wasn’t written before Biden travels to Glasgow on Nov. 1.
“If the president gives his word and has a clear commitment, that will be good enough,” Khanna said.