Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks at a rally

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) speaks at a "Go Bigger on Climate, Care, and Justice" rally on July 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Green New Deal Network)

'Our Caucus Is Clear': House Progressives Say No Bipartisan Deal Without Reconciliation Bill

"The bipartisan bill will only be passed if a package of social, human, and climate infrastructure—reflecting long-standing Democratic priorities—is passed simultaneously through budget reconciliation."

Jake Johnson

Shortly after the Senate passed a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package on Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus said a survey of its nearly 100 members showed that a majority of respondents are prepared to withhold their votes for the newly approved legislation until the upper chamber also greenlights a sweeping reconciliation bill.

"CPC members won't support a bipartisan bill without a bold reconciliation bill to advance our priorities."
—Congressional Progressive Caucus

In a letter (pdf) to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), three top CPC members led by caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) wrote that their fellow progressive lawmakers were "specifically asked" whether they would "commit to withholding a yes vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal... until the Senate has passed budget reconciliation legislation deemed acceptable by the Congressional Progressive Caucus."

"A majority of our respondents affirmed that they would withhold their votes in support of the bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives until the Senate adopted a robust reconciliation package," reads the letter, which was also signed by Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

"We therefore encourage you to continue coordinating closely between the two chambers, collaborating with the White House, and engaging with our caucus so that the reconciliation framework reflects our shared and longstanding investment priorities, and that the Senate first
adopts this reconciliation package before House consideration of any bipartisan infrastructure legislation," the trio added.

The letter does not specify how many of the CPC's 96 members responded to the survey, nor does it say how many members answered affirmatively.

In a statement on Tuesday, Jayapal said the internal survey results "affirm the urgency of ensuring that the Senate's desire to pass a narrower bipartisan infrastructure agreement does not come at the expense of the full scope investments our communities need, want, and deserve."

"Our caucus is clear: the bipartisan bill will only be passed if a package of social, human, and climate infrastructure—reflecting long-standing Democratic priorities—is passed simultaneously through budget reconciliation," Jayapal said. "We know that congressional Democrats are committed to delivering immediate and transformational improvements for the lives of the American people, and will hold firm to meet that promise."

Following its passage of the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill—which climate advocates and other progressives have slammed as woefully insufficient and even actively harmful—the Senate voted along party lines to begin debate on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled on Monday.

That resolution establishes the outer boundaries of an eventual legislative package that Democrats hope to pass using the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process, a route that allows them to circumvent Republican obstruction.

"My Republican colleagues are upset that we are using the reconciliation process, and only 50 votes, to pass this budget," Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday. "But let us be clear: This idea of using reconciliation is certainly not a new idea. When Republicans controlled the Senate, they used reconciliation to pass trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 1% and large corporations."

"Well, today, it is true, we will also use reconciliation, but we will do it in a different way," Sanders continued. "We will use it to help the working families of this country, and not just the wealthy and the powerful."

The budget resolution (pdf) that the Senate is currently debating contains a wide array of proposals, including funding for green energy development, a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, an expansion of Medicare benefits and a lowering of the program's eligibility age, paid family and medical leave, and universal pre-K.

The blueprint must now be converted into legislative text, a process that is expected to drag out until mid-September.

With the support of progressive lawmakers, Pelosi has said that she will not allow a vote on the newly passed bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate also approves a reconciliation bill. That strategy has drawn pushback from conservative House Democrats, six of whom are circulating a letter urging Pelosi to hold a standalone vote on the bipartisan bill "without regard to other legislation," a clear reference to the emerging reconciliation package.

But judging by the CPC's internal survey and given Democrats' slim margin of control in the House, progressive lawmakers likely have the votes to block the bipartisan package should it reach the floor before the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.

"I'm glad to see the Senate pass an infrastructure bill that invests critically needed dollars into our roads, bridges, and waterways," Jayapal tweeted Tuesday. "This funding MUST be accompanied by a jobs and families plan that lifts up working people and guarantees no one is left behind in this recovery."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Witness Intimidation. Clear as Day': Jan. 6 Panel Teases Evidence of Cover-Up Effort

"Add witness tampering to the laundry list of crimes Trump and his allies must be charged with," said professor Robert Reich.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Bombshell After Bombshell' Dropped as Jan. 6 Testimony Homes In On Trump Guilt

"Hutchinson's testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup," said one pro-democracy organizer.

Brett Wilkins ·

Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·

UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·

'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo