There’s one way that these nine could try to force a vote while they’re back in a few weeks, and that would be with a discharge petition. That would require the assistance of almost all of the Republicans in the House, and as much as Republicans love mischief, do these nine Democrats really want to ally with Republicans against Biden’s signature policy goals? It’s almost as if they haven’t really thought this one all the way through.
It’s almost as though they did all of this for the attention they knew they could get, from The New York Times and the Post, CNN, and always Politico and The Hill because they can always get headlines pushing the narrative of “Dems in Disarray.”
That’s pretty much all they’re likely to get out of this foray, other than further antagonizing the “dozens upon dozens” of their colleagues “who will vote against the [bipartisan infrastructure bill] unless it’s after the Senate passes reconciliation.”
Pelosi made it very clear in a call with members earlier this week when she told them that the voting schedule was reached with the “the consensus” of the whole of House Democrats. “The votes in the House and Senate depend on us having both bills,” Pelosi reminded members on the call. “The President has said he’s all for the bipartisan approach…bravo!” she said. “That’s progress, but it ain’t the whole vision.”
The House will be back on August 23, and they will vote on the budget resolution that sets the instructions for the reconciliation bill—not the bipartisan bill. Those nine Democrats will then have to make a decision: be with Biden or be Republicans.
Meanwhile, staff for the House committees working on the budget reconciliation bill are meeting with high-level White House staff on Friday to discuss priorities. The committees have a September 15 deadline for finishing their part of the reconciliation bill, and reportedly the House will vote first, then send the bill to the Senate.
That would provide some leverage for Schumer against Sinema and Manchin—the House will have passed it with the very narrow margin Pelosi has (three votes). Not supporting it could tank the bipartisan bill, which doesn’t have enough votes to pass in the House unless the reconciliation bill is passed in the Senate.
It’s all very much a tight rope walk in which 11 Democrats—the nine in the House and the two in the Senate—can cause everyone to topple into the abyss. That wouldn’t be good for any Democrat running in 2022.