Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on Sunday rejected Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) counteroffer of a $1.5 trillion top line for the reconciliation package after progressives spurred the delay of the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure, which buys Democrats more time to reach a deal on reconciliation amid moderates putting up a fight over its price tag.
Pressed during an appearance on CNN about whether House progressives could back Manchin’s $1.5 trillion proposal — a counterproposal he made after his repeated refusal to name a topline number amid his complaints over the reconciliation bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag. Jayapal replied, “That’s not going to happen.”
“That’s too small to get our priorities in. So, it’s going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5,” Jayapal said. “And I think the White House is working on that right now, because, remember, what we want to deliver is child care, paid leave, climate change, housing.”
Jayapal added that she does not have a counteroffer for the reconciliation bill’s price tag.
“We’re not thinking about the number. And the President said this to us too. He said, don’t start with the number. Start with what you’re for,” Jayapal said. “And that’s what he’s asked them for. And then let’s come to the number from there. So, that’s how we’re thinking about it.”
“I don’t feel the need to give a number, because I gave my number. It was 3.5. So, if you’re in a negotiation, you need to have a counteroffer before you bid against yourself,” Jayapal continued.
Jayapal’s latest comments come on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Oct. 31 while making clear the need for both infrastructure bills to pass.
“Out of respect for our colleagues who support the bills and out of recognition for the need for both, I would not bring BIF to the Floor to fail,” Pelosi said. “Again, we will and must pass both bills soon. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to do so. People are waiting and want Results.”
The delay of the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill occurred as a result of progressives refusing to back down on their threat to sink the legislation if it’s put to a vote before Democrats’ sweeping reconciliation package.
On Friday, President Biden reiterated his commitment to passing both infrastructure bills in tandem during a meeting with House Democrats. Jayapal told reporters on Friday afternoon that the President backed coupling the bipartisan infrastructure plan and reconciliation package.
The President, however, reportedly warned House Democrats that they’d have to come down from $3.5 trillion, throwing out $2.2 trillion as a possible alternative.
“I wrote the damn bill. … Even a smaller bill can make historic investments — historic investments in child care, day care, clean energy. You get a whole hell of a lot of things done,” Biden told told House Democrats, according to Politico.
Watch Jayapal’s remarks below: