The latest on infrastructure negotiations in Congress

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:49 PM ET, Fri October 1, 2021
36 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:29 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

House Republicans are rethinking their support for infrastructure bill, sources say

From CNN's Melanie Zanona and Daniella Diaz

House Republicans who were previously planning to support the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill are now rethinking their votes after President Biden’s visit to the Hill today, saying it’s clear that the bill is linked to reconciliation, according to GOP sources.

“All bets are off,” said Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, one of the few Republicans who publicly said he would back the bill.

Bacon said he is now rethinking his vote and has talked to several GOP colleagues during the last vote series who either have already switched from “yes” to “no” in their minds or are considering it.

Bacon, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, also said he talked to a moderate House Democrat who is furious with Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not keeping her promise to hold the infrastructure vote this week.

8:10 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Pelosi: "More time is needed to complete" both bills

From CNN's Lauren Fox 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to fellow members that "more time is needed" as negotiations over a sweeping economic package and a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill continue.

"While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task," she wrote.

"Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill," Pelosi added.

She also mentioned President Biden's visit to the Democratic Caucus, writing that Biden "honored us with his first in-person visit to our Caucus."

"He received a hero’s welcome! His presentation on the values of the Biden vision was warmly and enthusiastically received. We look forward to a successful enactment of the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill," Pelosi wrote.

Earlier, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the vote extending highway funding would be the last vote before the House recesses. 

8:04 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

There are no more votes expected in the House tonight

From CNN's Melanie Zanona, Lauren Fox, Ryan Nobles, Clare Foran and Daniella Diaz

(House TV)
(House TV)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN that the chamber was done for the night, and no additional votes were expected after consideration of a separate stopgap bill to extend highway funding.

"I'm going home," he said.

Some background: President Biden visited Capitol Hill Friday afternoon, meeting with members of the House Democratic Caucus as Democratic leaders and White House officials labored to strike a deal on the economic framework that they hope can unlock enough votes for infrastructure.

The comments from the President may have relieved some of the deadline pressure on Democrats to swiftly strike a deal and resolve the impasse, but were just as likely an acknowledgment of the reality that a deal is not expected to be reached immediately given the number of sticking points that remain.

Two sources familiar with ongoing talks told CNN earlier Friday that a deal on the so-called framework of the economic package wasn't finished or imminent at the current moment.

7:34 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Klobuchar describes ongoing stalemate as "democracy in action"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

(CNN)
(CNN)

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar characterized the ongoing stalemate between Democrats over two spending proposals as "democracy in action" and expressed confidence lawmakers could eventually hammer out a deal.

"I think that this is democracy in action," the Minnesota lawmaker said tonight as Democratic leadership continued to work late into the evening to hammer out an agreement between moderates and progressives to allow a massive bipartisan infrastructure package to move forward.

Klobuchar cited her experience working closely with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on a voting rights bill, suggesting she believed he was capable of negotiating in good faith.

"I'm just a little more optimistic than some people because I've been in those Senate rooms," she said. "I've been with Joe Manchin when we negotiated the voting bill, just eight of us. I saw him, in good faith, put ideas out there."

 "We have an agreement on the bill," she added. "I think that can happen with this legislation." 

6:04 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Biden discussing next steps with aides in Oval Office after meeting with lawmakers

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Biden and his senior aides have been in the Oval Office since returning from Capitol Hill, a White House official said.

Biden and his team have been debriefing his meeting with House Democrats and discussing next steps in the legislative negotiations, the official said. 

White House officials feel like Biden accomplished what he went to do on Capitol Hill: reminding Democrats of what is at stake while also relieving some of the pressure that had built up over the last several days and reiterating his commitment to passing both pieces of legislation.

With that done, officials believe negotiators have a better environment to be able to push towards a deal.

6:01 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Hoyer doesn't say if there will be a vote while Jayapal insists no vote tonight

From CNN's Lauren Fox, Ryan Nobles, Alex Rogers, Kristin Wilson, Morgan Rimmer and Annie Grayer 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to members of the press outside a House Democratic caucus meeting.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to members of the press outside a House Democratic caucus meeting. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After President Biden met with House Democrats, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the President was “passionate” about passing both bills. 

When asked about potential vote timing, Hoyer said, “we’re going to go talk about that right now,” adding that he was headed to a leadership meeting. 

When asked if he felt there would be an infrastructure vote today, Hoyer said, “could be."

“I’ve gotten over expecting things; I just take them as they come," he added.

As they left the meeting with Biden, several lawmakers said the President informed them that the top-line number where they are likely to find agreement is somewhere between $1.9 trillion and around $2 trillion.

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said that was the range that Biden told the group and asked them to find common ground within that number. 

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey, said that while progressives were successful in holding off the vote this week, everyone acknowledged that the figure was not going to be as high $3.5 trillion if they are going to get the bill passed. 

Meanwhile, as progressive lawmakers filed into their own meeting at the Capitol, staffers collected their phones.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, told reporters Friday that progressive Democrats were going to have to shrink the $3.5 trillion social policy and climate package in their negotiations with moderate Democrats.

“It's going be tough,” she said.

Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Biden was “very clear” that the package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill are “tied together.” Jayapal said that in order to get the infrastructure bill passed, there needs to be an agreement on the so-called Build Back Better plan.

“He was very clear the two are tied together," Jayapal said. “But we need to get this reconciliation bill. ... And you know, it's going be tough. We're going to have to come down in our number, and we're going have to do that work. So we're going to get to work and see what we can get to.”

“There was no timetable,” she added.

Jayapal said the House would not vote on the bipartisan infrastructure tonight or this weekend. 

5:54 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Progressives believe infrastructure talks will pause, plan to vote on stopgap for highway funding

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Morgan Rimmer

After leaving the progressive caucus meeting, Reps. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia said negotiations about an acceptable top line for the larger Democratic bill were ongoing and that they believed the House would take up a stopgap funding measure for surface transportation today before pausing negotiations on infrastructure over the weekend. 

“That's kind of what's going on in there right now,” said Garcia, referencing the progressive-only meeting. “But, you know we've all got to be open to compromise, and that's what negotiations are about and it's, you know, identifying what we want, you know, what our top priorities are, knowing what their needs are, and trying to reconcile the two.”

After Biden’s visit today, Escobar said she believed they would pass the surface transportation bill and pause negotiations between moderates and progressives for the week.

“The negotiation at any time has to be both parties, you know, kind of talking about the same thing and right now I don't think we are,” Garcia added.

When asked how she felt after today’s meeting with Biden, Escobar replied, “Optimistic and inspired, like I feel renewed and energized.”

5:57 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Progressives are working on what areas to trim from reconciliation package

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Rep. Jamie Raskin
Rep. Jamie Raskin (CNN)

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland left an ongoing meeting with House Progressives and said the group is optimistic about the path forward.

Raskin said 98% of Democrats are united in their desire to pass both bills. 

He acknowledged that he and his fellow progressives will have to find ways to trim the $3.5 trillion package in a way that meets most of their goals.

“We understand that there are different proposals for the amounts of money to be spent, and we're just gonna have to come up with the right number and maybe not everything can be funded for 10 years,” Raskin said. "Maybe it's going to be a lesser period of time, but at least we'll be able to develop these programs and make a commitment to the American people, then we'll be able to make a judgement after four years or five years of the programs. Are they working, do they deserve more investment or do they not?"

Raskin also said they are not worried that it is taking too long to get the agenda passed.

“I think that the momentum for the legislation is building, we have the attention of the country and people are starting to pay attention to what's inside the President's plan and that's what's so extraordinary here. This is a landmark moment, to be able to make these massive investments in Pre-K, massive investments in daycare for working families, massive investments in community colleges across the country – and to pay for it by increasing taxes on big corporations that have been getting a free ride for just too long," he said.

5:48 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

House will likely pass bill to extend highway funding for 30 days, House representative says

From CNN's Kristin Wilson and Alex Rogers

New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster said the House will likely pass a bill extending highway funding for 30 days to prevent programs from lapsing, and give the negotiators more time to strike a deal on the Build Back Better plan.

“I think they'll do the 30 day, give them some time to negotiate the details,” she said. “ And then we'll pass both bills.”

Democrats had hoped to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which included highway funding, before surface transportation authority expired Sept. 30.