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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said she was proceeding with a plan to hold a vote later on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as just a procedural vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate package, even as progressive Democratic lawmakers opposed that approach.

The House of Representatives gaveled in early Friday with Democratic leaders hoping to approve both measures, but by midafternoon, there had been no voting on them, with the delay attributed to some moderate Democrats demanding an estimate for the social-spending bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO isn’t expected to be able to provide a full estimate this week.

Democrats have a narrow House majority and can afford no more than three defections on legislation if there’s no Republican support for it. So top Democrats came up with a workaround: a vote Friday on the infrastructure bill, but only a procedural vote on the social-spending bill.

However, progressive House Democrats then said they wouldn’t vote for the infrastructure bill on Friday. They’ve long maintained that both measures should advance together.

“A full accounting of the spending and revenue has been provided by the White House, numerous pieces of the legislation have already been scored, and the JCT has put out analysis that Build Back Better will contribute to reducing the deficit” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the Democrat from Washington state who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in a statement, referring to a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate.

“However, if our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time — after which point we can vote on both bills together.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has nearly 100 members, so the infrastructure bill easily could get voted down, even if some House Republicans supported it. But Pelosi didn’t show signs of backing off her plan during a news conference in the late afternoon.

“I do believe that there are a large number of members of the progressive caucus who will vote for the bill,” Pelosi told reporters.

Biden had called for action in a brief speech earlier Friday at the White House. As he hailed a stronger-than-expected October jobs report, the president urged House lawmakers to pass both the infrastructure and social-spending bills “right now,” arguing they will boost the economy and aid working families.

In a sign of last-minute wrangling, however, Biden said he was going back to his office to “make some calls” to lawmakers. He did not take reporters’ questions.

The infrastructure measure, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, would go to the president to get signed into law upon House passage. The social-spending package is likely to be changed in the Senate, where portions of it face opposition from West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

“We will bring to the Floor the BIF and a rule for consideration of the Build Back Better Act,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues on Friday afternoon. BIF stands for Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.

Read more: Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the House aims to pass — and how it’s paid for

Also: Infrastructure bill mandates new technology to prevent drunk driving — here’s how it would work

Plus: Here’s what’s in and out of Democrats’ big social-spending bill — for now

Pelosi has delayed planned votes in the House on the infrastructure bill several times previously, as Democratic lawmakers have struggled to agree on their spending proposals. The California Democrat at one point pledged a vote by Sept. 27 to a group of moderate House Democrats to get their support for a procedural vote for the social-spending measure, but then ended up pushing back her timeline repeatedly.

Pelosi also has grappled often with progressive House Democrats, who blocked the infrastructure bill pending changes in the Build Back Better Act, to which Democrats have now added provisions including paid leave.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the Senate in a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell among the 19 Republicans who joined with the chamber’s 50 Democrats to support the long-awaited measure. It has an overall price tag of about $1 trillion, with around $550 billion in new public-works spending above what already was expected in future federal investments.

Infrastructure stocks, as tracked by the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF PAVE, +1.35%, have gained 35% this year, topping the broad S&P 500 equity index’s SPX, +0.37% advance of 25%. The main U.S. stock gauges DJIA, +0.56% COMP, +0.20% closed at fresh record highs Friday after the encouraging jobs report.

Now read: These are the stocks for playing Biden’s infrastructure push, analysts say

And see: Biden wants to ‘reconnect communities’ cut off by interstates — this infamous Baltimore highway shows what’s at stake

Also: Here’s why the crypto industry is fretting over the $1 trillion infrastructure bill

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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