The small group of conservative Democratic lawmakers that has been threatening to help Republicans halt Democrats’ budget package have raked in more than $3 million from donors in the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries that could see reduced profits if the plan passes.
As the House reconvenes today to tackle the budget reconciliation process, nine Democratic legislators have been promising to kill their party’s $3.5 trillion budget bill until Congress first passes a separate, smaller infrastructure spending measure, which has garnered some Republican support and which some environmental advocates say would exacerbate the climate crisis. Indeed, an ExxonMobil lobbyist was recently caught on tape saying the company had worked to strip climate measures out of the infrastructure bill.
“We will vote against a budget resolution if the infrastructure package isn’t brought up first,” Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer told the Washington Post this weekend, though the American Prospect reported on Sunday that “several” of the legislators now indicated they could back down.
In the narrowly divided House, obstructionism from these conservative Democrats could decouple the infrastructure and budget measures from one another. Many believe that would kill the latter by letting conservative Democrats in the Senate such as Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) get the infrastructure bill they want without having to provide the votes necessary to enact the much larger and more progressive budget measure.
“If we were to pass the bipartisan [infrastructure] bill first, then we lose leverage,” Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY) told the Wall Street Journal.
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