WASHINGTON — House progressives are digging in on their resistance to passing the infrastructure bill this week, repeating their threat to block the measure despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call to pass it quickly and tackle the social safety net package later.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the progressive caucus, which boasts 95 House members, told NBC News that "nothing has changed" and more than half her caucus is prepared to vote down the infrastructure bill if it comes up before the larger tax-and-spending bill has passed the Senate.
The wrangling comes during a chaotic week where Democrats are locked in a separate standoff with Republicans over how to keep the government funded ahead of a Thursday night deadline and avert debt default before an Oct. 18 cutoff.
The progressive resistance won support from allies the Senate, as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called on House colleagues "to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill."
"My fear is that if the dual agreement that was reached is broken, and we just pass the infrastructure bill, the leverage that we have here in the Senate to pass the reconciliation bill will be largely gone," Sanders said in an interview.