Pramila Jayapal Throws Cold Water on Biden Agenda Rebrand Hopes

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks to reporters as she walks out of a House Democratic Progressive Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on Thursday threw cold water on President Biden’s rebrand of his Build Back Better agenda.

“There are too many ‘no’ votes for the BIF [bipartisan infrastructure bill] to pass” today, she told reporters.

While speaking earlier in the day, Jayapal, the leader of the 95 member Progressive Caucus, relayed Biden’s fresh reconciliation topline number of $1.85 trillion may not be supported by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Jayapal has indicated she will not support the measure until both senators are on board with the package.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., center, joined from left by, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., speaks to reporters just after a vote to start work on a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Jayapal, however, said that Biden on Thursday expressed belief he could whip up all the votes necessary to pass the largest welfare bill since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation in the 1960s. “He’s confident he can get the votes,” she said.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: (L-R) U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leave a meeting with House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden will meet with House Democrats on Thursday morning to try and secure a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and discuss his multi-trillion social policy spending bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leave a meeting with House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jayapal also noted she and her caucus have not seen the final version of the legislation. The White House only released a framework Thursday. “The first step is we’ve gotta see the legislation,” she demanded before suggesting Pelosi does not have the votes to pass the measure at all.

Jayapal’s words are significant due to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) expectation the newly released reconciliation framework will unlock the $2.1 trillion “bipartisan” infrastructure bill stuck in the House. Pelosi is whipping up votes to pass the infrastructure bill Thursday afternoon or evening.

It is unknown if Biden’s framework has fully satisfied the far-left demands to win the vote. Both Jayapal and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are two members who said they will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation package being fully supported by Manchin and Sinema.

Sinema released a statement Thursday indicating she may cave and allow Biden’s agenda to become law:

After months of productive, good-faith negotiations with President Biden and the White House, we have made significant progress on the proposed budget reconciliation package. I look forward to getting this done, expanding economic opportunities and helping everyday families get ahead.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the primary author of Biden agenda, told reporters Wednesday it would be “inconceivable” he would vote for the framework the way it was currently written.

The Biden’s framework includes the following:

  • $555 billion for climate change provisions
  • $400 billion for subsidized child care and pre-k
  • $200 billion for a child tax credit
  • $100 billion for amnesty, though the Senate parliamentarian has opposed such a feature
  • 15 percent corporate minimum tax on corporations

The framework does not include many of the far-left’s demands:

  • SALT deduction
  • Medicare benefits, such as dental, hearing and vision
  • Subsidies for proscription drugs

Biden reportedly told Democrat lawmakers Thursday that if his agenda was enacted, it “would be greater and more significant that FDR and LBJ combined,” Politico reported.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

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