The Sausage Making: A Weird, Stop-Start Kind Of A Day

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to reporters as she leaves a meeting with Progressive House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden met with H... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to reporters as she leaves a meeting with Progressive House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden met with House Democrats on Thursday morning to try and secure a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and discuss his multi-trillion social policy spending bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The day started with the White House releasing the long-awaited reconciliation framework, clocking in at $1.75 trillion and outlining the bill’s primary programmatic elements. 

Then President Joe Biden descended on the Hill, meeting with House Democrats before he left for Europe. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during the meeting pushed for a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill today, now that they have the reconciliation framework; Biden, according to representatives there, did not. 

House progressives streamed out of that meeting and into another, huddling among themselves to decide what to do next. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the caucus, came out with a verdict: progressives need text of the reconciliation bill and a commitment from Biden that he has all 50 votes in the Senate before they’ll vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

It’s a softening of previous positions she’s held, when she demanded a Senate vote on the reconciliation bill before they’d budge on the bipartisan one — and a sign of the very high levels of trust in the President among the caucus. 

“Look, that’s what I would like,” Jayapal told TPM when asked if she’d need an explicit statement from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) confirming that they’d vote for the reconciliation bill. “But if the President of the United States tells me that he has that commitment, I will accept his word.” 

A short time later, the House Rules Committee released text of the bill. 

There has not been any clear commitment from Manchin or Sinema that they will vote for the bill that will grow out of the reconciliation framework. Sinema indicated vague support in a statement, and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said that Manchin told him it was a “framework he could work with.” 

Senators have left for the weekend, and the House is going to vote on short-term transportation extension tonight, indicating that they will not vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. These negotiations will grind on into next week. 

Loose Ends

  • The big one is Medicare prescription drug negotiations. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said that Sinema and the White House came to an agreement on the issue that is not in the framework, but that constant negotiations have been happening all day involving progressives like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who want the provision to be stronger. 
  • Sen. Kyrsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said that she is still working on Manchin on paid leave, but that currently seems less likely to ultimately make the cut. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reportedly told members that they have a week to negotiate things in or out of the framework. 
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