The Unbreakable Nine “Pulled Off What Just Days Ago Seemed Unimaginable”
In recent weeks, the Unbreakable Nine House Democrats took a principled stand for a simple idea: The House should move immediately to pass the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill endorsed by President Biden, 69 senators including Minority Leader McConnell, and three-quarters of the American public.
They took on the Democratic leadership, who insisted on tying the fate of the two-party infrastructure bill to a completely separate one-party reconciliation bill. They were attacked relentlessly, but in the end, they held strong. Axios says the Nine “surprised everyone when they held their ground,” while Politico says the group “pulled off what just days ago seemed unimaginable.”
On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi made a huge concession: She guaranteed an infrastructure vote no later than September 27, a step that delinks the fate of these two bills. Each will rise and fall on their own merits, which is exactly as it should be. The WSJ says that Pelosi “has said previously that the House wouldn’t vote on infrastructure until the healthcare and education package has passed the Senate.”
The WaPo says the Nine “exited the Tuesday vote believing they had successfully decoupled the two priorities.” The NYT reports that the Nine “boasted that their group had succeeded in making sure that the bipartisan bill would ‘receive stand-alone consideration, fully de-linked, and on its own merits.’”
Politico calls it “a significant win” for the Nine, “who for weeks have been telegraphing to leadership that they would vote against the budget resolution unless Pelosi brought the Senate-passed infrastructure bill up for an immediate vote.”
The LA Times reports that Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) “said they were satisfied that Democratic leaders had agreed to a September date for the infrastructure vote.” Costa said, “I think it’s important to those of us who are moderate Democrats to make sure that our voices are heard.”
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) told NPR, “I think this was a win for the American people, and it was a win-win within our caucus. … Seventy-five percent of Americans agree that this is a good bill. … This is the largest infrastructure bill this generation has ever had.”
This is the second time No Labels allies on Capitol Hill were the pivotal players on the single most important policy facing the country, with the December 2020 COVID deal being the first. Once again, they are advancing a good bill that the country desperately needs -- and proving that our bipartisan, bicameral model can work.