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Pelosi Says Spending Bill Deal and Infrastructure Vote Will Come This Week

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/24/2021 Christina Zhao
Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks as she joins religious leaders during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol October 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. © Alex Wong/Getty Images Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks as she joins religious leaders during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol October 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats plan to reach an agreement on the spending bill and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill this week.

"Are you saying in the next week there will be an agreement on the social safety net bill and you will also vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill?" asked CNN host Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

"That's the plan," Pelosi said. "I think we're pretty much there now. It's just the language of it. 90 percent of the bill is agreed to and written."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Joe Manchin and President Joe Biden will soon meet to finalize some of the particulars, she added.

Democrats plan on passing the measure known as the Build Back Better Act through a budget process called reconciliation with a simple majority. With the chamber split 50-50, all members of the caucus will need to vote for it to pass.

Congress has exactly one week to meet Pelosi's tentative October 31 deadline to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which progressives have refused to vote for unless it's passed in tandem with the larger spending bill.

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Last month, Pelosi promised moderates that she'd bring the infrastructure bill to the House floor for a vote on September 27, before extending the deadline to September 30. But the vote was delayed again amid a stalemate between progressives and moderates in the caucus over the originally proposed $3.5 trillion budget bill.

"There was no deadline that was missed because of the progressives. The deadline was missed because they changed from $3.5 [trillion] to one half of that," Pelosi said Sunday.

Among the major investments, the "hard infrastructure" bill includes funding for roads and highways, bridges, broadband development, water support, and airport projects. The "human" spending bill provides funding to fight climate change, expand public housing and health care, among other provisions.

With moderates and progressives still in disagreement over some priorities of the package, it's currently unclear what will and won't be included in the final version of the bill.

Manchin wants to water down Medicare expansion, the climate provisions and means-test benefits to keep costs down, while Senator Kyrsten Sinema opposes lowering prescription drug prices and the new tax provisions that were included as a pay for.

Biden said Thursday that Sinema's opposition to increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations could further complicate funding issues related to the bill. However, Pelosi assured CNN that Democrats will "fully pay for the plan."

Senator Bernie Sanders on Saturday expressed confidence that Medicare expansion of dental, vision and hearing coverage won't be removed from the paired-back spending bill.

"The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire reconciliation bill. It's what the American people want. It's not coming out," tweeted the Vermont independent, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.

Newsweek reached out to Schumer's office for comment.

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