Democratic leaders hope the plan will win must-have votes from unhappy party members.
In a letter Sunday to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested that the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both a budget resolution and a separate infrastructure bill.
The budget blueprint would open the gate for Congress to later consider a separate, $3.5 trillion, 10-year bill for health, education and environment programs.
Nine Democrats said Friday they would oppose the budget resolution until the House first approves a $1 trillion package of road, railway and other infrastructure projects.
In the face of solid Republican opposition, Democrats can lose no more than three defectors to pass legislation through the closely split chamber.
The infrastructure measure, which the Senate approved last week with bipartisan support, is the top priority for Democrats, who want to bank a quick win by sending it to Biden for his signature.
Democrats are calling the House back from summer recess on Aug. 23.
By forcing the House to vote on moving both measures an initial step forward together, Democratic leaders hope potential defectors will be forced to abandon their threat — at least for now — and join the rest of the party in edging its economic and social agenda toward eventual passage.
The nine Democrats said in a joint statement Sunday evening that they still want final passage of the infrastructure bill before voting on the budget. But they stopped short of saying they’d oppose Pelosi’s plan to initially advance both together.
“We simply can’t afford any delays. As Democrats, we remain committed to working with our colleagues to advance the President’s agenda,” including sending the infrastructure package to Biden, they wrote.
Bloating the welfare state and padding the pockets of green corporate donors rank atop Biden’s and Democrats’ priorities.
A defeat, especially at this early stage, would be deeply wounding to the party’s legislative goals and a political blow ahead of next year’s elections for congressional control.
“These bills will be the biggest and most consequential initiatives that any of us have ever undertaken in our official lives,” Pelosi wrote.
Even so, her party is divided.
Progressive Democrats’ No. 1 goal is approval of $3.5 trillion worth of spending boosts and tax cuts for health care, education, welfare and green programs. Raising taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations would finance much of it.
Passing the budget resolution is pivotal because that would shield the subsequent $3.5 trillion bill from Republican Senate filibusters, or delays, that would kill it.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.