The House of Representatives gaveled in early Friday with Democratic leaders hoping to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that previously cleared the Senate, along with President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate package. But by midafternoon, there had been no voting on the two measures, with the delay attributed to some moderate House Democrats demanding an estimate for the social-spending bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO isn’t expected to be able to provide a full estimate this week. Democrats have a narrow House majority and can afford no more than three defections on legislation if there’s no Republican support for it.
One possible workaround reportedly under discussion would be holding a vote Friday on the infrastructure bill, as well as just a procedural vote on the social-spending bill. Biden called for action in a brief speech on Friday at the White House. As he hailed a stronger-than-expected October jobs report, the president urged House lawmakers to pass both the infrastructure and social-spending bills “right now,” arguing they will boost the economy and aid working families. In a sign of last-minute wrangling, however, Biden said he was going back to his office to “make some calls” to lawmakers. He did not take reporters’ questions. The infrastructure measure, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, would go to the president to get signed into law upon House passage, while the social-spending package, called the Build Back Better Act, is likely to be changed in the Senate, where portions of it face opposition from West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. Read more: Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the House aims to pass — and how it’s paid for Also: Infrastructure bill mandates new technology to prevent drunk driving — here’s how it would work Plus: Here’s what’s in and out of Democrats’ big social-spending bill — for now Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed planned votes in the House on the infrastructure bill several times previously, as Democratic lawmakers have struggled to agree on their spending proposals. The California Democrat at one point pledged a vote by Sept. 27 to a group of moderate House Democrats to get their support for a procedural vote for the social-spending measure, but then ended up pushing back her timeline repeatedly. Pelosi has grappled with progressive House Democrats, who blocked the infrastructure bill pending changes in the Build Back Better Act, to which Democrats have now added provisions including paid leave. The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the Senate in a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell among the 19 Republicans who joined with the chamber’s 50 Democrats to support the long-awaited measure. It has an overall price tag of about $1 trillion, with around $550 billion in new public-works spending above what already was expected in future federal investments. Infrastructure stocks, as tracked by the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF
have gained 35% this year, topping the broad S&P 500 equity index’s
advance of 25%. The main U.S. stock gauges
were pushing further into record territory Friday after the encouraging jobs report. Now read: These are the stocks for playing Biden’s infrastructure push, analysts say And see: Biden wants to ‘reconnect communities’ cut off by interstates — this infamous Baltimore highway shows what’s at stake Also: Here’s why the crypto industry is fretting over the $1 trillion infrastructure bill