House Approves Rule to Advance Budget Process

August 25, 2021

On Aug. 24, the House voted 220-212 along party lines to approve a $3.5 trillion budget framework, after several days of negotiating between Democratic leadership and a group of 10 centrists who had planned to vote against the budget unless the infrastructure vote came first. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reached the deal with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and the other moderates in the hours before the vote, clearing the way for the spending package.

The compromise is a significant win for Rep. Gottheimer, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) and the others, who for weeks have been telegraphing to leadership that they would vote against the budget resolution unless Speaker Pelosi brought the Senate-passed infrastructure bill up for an immediate vote. While they didn’t get that demand met, they did get leadership to agree to the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure vote no later than Sept. 27, a few days before the surface transportation authorizations are set to expire on Oct. 1.

The vote was technically on a rule for floor debate put forward by the Rules Committee, but it included a provision deeming the budget resolution necessary to kick off the reconciliation process passed when the rule was passed. The House vote clears the way for Democrats to pursue a massive social spending package—including huge investments in education, child care, health care and paid leave, and tax increases on wealthy people and corporations—that could pass both chambers without Republican support. All Democrats, including the roughly dozen moderates who threatened to tank the party-line spending plan, voted in favor — a show of party unity that leadership strove for and succeeded in achieving.  

With final passage of the budget resolution, House and Senate committees, will now begin officially working on their pieces of the broader reconciliation packaged, expected to amount to $3.5 trillion of spending. The pending budget resolution sets a non-binding deadline of September 15 for committees to draft and approve legislation. 

The House will now be in recess until Sept. 20.