Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reaffirmed her stance that the lower chamber won’t vote on the Senate’s proposed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package until Democrats in the upper chamber also pass a $3.5 budget proposal via reconciliation.
In response, Republican lawmakers Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) accused Pelosi of holding the bipartisan plan “hostage.” Cassidy argues that’s because she’s not confident she has the votes to pass the larger bill, presumably because moderate Democrats may hold out on the pricier proposal. “She’s going to attempt to coerce people into voting for it by holding hostage something that the American people, that’s good for American jobs, the economy, our future,” Cassidy said, speculating that Pelosi could risk losing seats in next year’s election if she follows through on that strategy. “I promise you, voters will punish that decision.”
At the same time, Fox Business reported Thursday that Pelosi is really tethering the two bills together because she’s concerned progressive Democrats might vote against the bipartisan bill if it’s presented alone. But as Fox News’ Chad Pergram noted, the GOP reactions may be a bit premature either way, considering neither bill has actually been written yet.