Progressive Democrats on Thursday defied fierce pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and refused to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill
, flexing new leverage in a bid to guarantee trillions more
in the most sweeping social spending plan in a generation.
It is a rare day when Pelosi fails to control her caucus. But the veteran speaker, viewed with awe by many members for her vote-counting abilities, adopted a high-risk strategy of trying to force a vote on the first leg of Biden's forward-looking agenda. The infrastructure bill, which is the centerpiece of Biden's outreach to Republicans and his call for national unity, pours tens of billions of dollars into railroads, roads, airports and bridges.
But openly defying her authority, progressives stood firm in their refusal to vote for the bill without Senate action on a companion $3.5 trillion transformation
of health care, education and social programs. Despite frantic late-night attempts to forge a framework for that package involving Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, White House officials and two holdout moderates -- Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
-- no deal could be reached. That forced Pelosi to finally abandon her push to hold a vote on Thursday, and lawmakers will return for more brinkmanship on Friday.Read More