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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)

House Progressives: 'When We Said These Two Bills Go Together, We Meant It'

"Moving the infrastructure bill forward without the popular Build Back Better Act risks leaving behind working people, families, and our communities."

Andrea Germanos

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal on Wednesday stressed a need for the "transformational investments in programs" that her party's Build Back Better package stands to make and said House progressives wouldn't "be fools" by agreeing to a vote on a pending bipartisan infrastructure bill until the legislative text for a larger social spending package was finalized.

"If we're 90% there on the legislative text, which is what I keep hearing from the Speaker and others, then let's finish.. and we can get both bills done," Jayapal (D-Wash.) told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson.

"The big problem right now," she said, "is we still don't have that full agreement."

Asked by Jackson how many members of the CPC would vote no or withhold their vote on the bipartisan bill without having secured the legislative text for the reconciliation bill, Jayapal said that "the Speaker never brings a bill to the floor that goings to fail."

 "I think we're up to 40 that really believe we have to vote both of these bills through," she said. "We're just saying we need both bills to pass the House, and we need everybody to agree that this is the agreement," meaning that it wouldn't be changed once it goes through the Senate.

Jayapal's remarks came just after the CPC reaffirmed its insistence that House passage of the smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill must be accompanied by a vote on and the legislative text—not simply the framework—for the broader Build Back Better package.

"When we said these two bills go together, we meant it," the group tweeted.

"A mere framework is not enough."

Jayapal also delivered that message in a tweet shortly after.

"Moving the infrastructure bill forward without the popular Build Back Better Act risks leaving behind working people, families, and our communities," Jayapal wrote. "That's not a risk we can take. These two bills must move together at the same time."

Democrats, facing obstruction of the Build Back Better package by right-wing members of the party like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are still working out the specific contents and exact price tag of the reconciliation package. Already slashed down to around $2 trillion over 10 years, the package could make significant investments in climate action and the care economy. The party needs the support of all its members for passage.

Jayapal's message Wednesday echoed the one she had a day earlier following a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

While Pelosi reportedly pushed for a framework on the broader package to suffice for progressives to vote on the bipartisan bill, Jayapal rejected the approach. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agreed, telling Bloomberg that "a mere framework is not enough."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, is doubling down on his demand that the reconciliation bill include Medicare expansion as well as reforms to lower prescription drug prices.

This article has been updated from an earlier version to include remarks Jayapal made in her MSNBC interview.


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Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·


Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·


'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

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Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

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