House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The House is expected to vote Friday on two major pieces of President Joe Biden's agenda, which have been stalled in the lower chamber for weeks due to opposition from Republicans and a couple centrist Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the chamber will vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the $1.85 trillion spending package that funds social and climate initiatives.
The infrastructure package, which was passed by the Senate almost three months ago, had been held up by progressives in the House who are using it as leverage to beef up the spending package, also known as the Build Back Better Act.
On the other hand, the spending package has been held up because some lawmakers have balked at the price tag -- it was originally worth $3.5 trillion -- or been disappointed in specific aspects of the proposal.
Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., largely opposed the initial cost of the plan before it was trimmed to its current level, about $1.75 trillion.
The spending bill aims to fund progressive priorities like universal preschool, child care subsidies, care for the elderly, climate change initiatives and housing.
The House's urgency in bringing the bills to a vote comes after Democrats performed poorly in gubernatorial races this week in New Jersey and Virginia, states that both overwhelmingly voted for Biden in the presidential election a year ago.
Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia race -- and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy only narrowly beat Republican Jack Ciattarelli, when most expected him to cruise to re-election.
The votes on both bills was expected sometime Friday afternoon. However, one or both could be delayed by a push from some centrist Democrats for a Congressional Budget Office analysis on the spending package to get a better idea of its cost.
Democrats made some late fixes to the spending bill to clarify language on a deal to lower drug prices, a plan to increase the cap on local and state tax deductions and specifics on immigration.
In a bid to appeal to the Democratic holdouts, Pelosi has pointed to a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis that concluded that the social spending bill has the potential to raise $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.