And while House Democrats are going through the stages of grief over the likely loss of their own longstanding legislative goals, most have not been accepted.
“It’s very difficult if the Senate finishes something and they come here. This takes away a lot of leverage. It makes it kind of a yes-no question, as opposed to a “what more can we get?” question,” the representative of the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in an interview ahead of Manchin’s rejection of climate and fiscal language. “There is always the ‘no’ option. It is the ultimate lever. »
Jayapal knows well what it means to say “no”, having helped delay the House’s passage of the $550 billion infrastructure bill last year. She says she can’t make that decision on impending Senate bills just yet, illustrating just how much pressure is on the president Nancy Pelosicaucus to swallow at least some of its losses if it means a broader political victory.
representing Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) is among multiple vulnerable Democrats in both chambers who are particularly desperate about China’s competitiveness bill, which would inject $52 billion into U.S. manufacturing. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to defeat the legislation unless the majority party drops its climate and health bill.
“Everything has been slow on this. Lo and behold, we are now approaching the election and Mitch McConnell and everyone else is playing politics,” Slotkin said of China’s competitiveness bill, which is key for its swing seat in the Midwest. “So I’m all for the CHIPS Act being over, one way or another, by August 1.”
It’s not just rank-and-file Democrats pushing leaders to pass a scaled-down version of their competitiveness bill. The White House is now launching a proposal to sever a key part of that package — the $52 billion in semiconductor funding — to pass it on its own, stalling McConnellability to use the fate of the bill as a political pawn.
In a rare visit to the Hill Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urged House lawmakers from both parties to provide that funding for the computer chips as soon as possible. Pelosi told reporters earlier Thursday that his caucus was “more interested in” a deal that bundles semiconductor funding with other coins rather than a standalone bill with just chip money.
But it is far from clear that such legislation could pass the Senate. Still, House leaders insist they are unwilling to bend and simply go along with the wholesale Senate bill amid the broader standoff with McConnell.
“Of course, we can pass the Senate bill and then we might as well eliminate the House, which the Senate might like to do,” the House Majority Leader said. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) joked.
Pressed if he meant there was no situation in which the House would simply pass the Senate bill, Hoyer clarified, “I didn’t say that.”
To pass either package – assuming the Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer can make a deal with Manchin — House Democrats need to master their perennial problem: math. Pelosi can afford to lose just four votes from his caucus to pass a deal without Republicans. That means she would need almost all of her members to accept Senate versions of the competitiveness bill and a set of party lines that could now include only drug pricing and Obamacare subsidies.
The whipping effort could be an even bigger headache for House Democratic leaders over this latest package, a stripped-down version of last year’s ‘Build Back Better’ bill, if their Senate counterparts deliver. one day a plan.
Schumer and Manchin kept their talks on a reduced level domestic policy bill held tightly, looking at something much smaller than the More than 1,000 billion dollars in bills passed by the House last year. The centrist’s rejection of modest tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, as well as climate policy, would leave Democrats with a health care bill only as a last option this year.
Even before Manchin balked, a group of about half a dozen House moderates watching the talks from afar grew increasingly suspicious of how the Senate would handle the tax provisions. Several privately discussed counter-offers they could make to any Senate deal.
“I’m part of a group that has had discussions about alternatives to what might happen,” Rep. dean phillips (D-Minn.). He added that he “is not taking any position” except that he wants a tax cut for middle earners to the extent, and at least a minimum tax on larger corporations.
Rep. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (DN.J.), another centrist concerned about what a final deal might look like, told reporters she was “not interested in further spending.”
This centrist House group includes members like Rep. Josh Gottheimer (DN.J.), who drew a hard line during last year’s negotiations over the repeal of the cap on state and local tax deductions, known as SALT. Gottheimer, Sherrill, Rep. Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.) and others all say they’re sticking to their “no salt, no okay” line.
And at least one House Democrat who has made another request for that package — on immigration — says he’s not backing down either.
representing Lou Correa (D-Calif.) said if there’s no immigration reform in the package, “then no, I’m not interested in supporting it…maybe they don’t don’t need my vote.”
Progressives, meanwhile, say they are simply unwilling to greenlight a Manchin-Schumer deal, which could sideline other key priorities.
representing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) warned that assuming House Democrats simply accept whatever happens, the Senate is missing legislative and political reality.
“There are certain things that for some members are a red line. And we came very close with the gun safety bill, and the only reason I think the gun safety bill got the votes it got is because that we were able to step in early enough to shape what came out of the Senate,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a brief interview.
If the Senate simply announces a deal without input from the rest of the party, she warned, “There could very easily be deal-breaking provisions not just for me but for any number of members because the Senate has a lot of blind spots, especially when it comes to class and racing.
However, some longtime House Democrats are willing to get more pragmatic.
“I guess I’m a practical person. What we can know is what the Senate will or will not do. I think it’s important to get as many as possible. I think we would take it, I do,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-California). “But again, the Senate has to figure out what it’s going to do.”
Gavin Bade and Anthony Adragna contributed.