Pelosi Sides With 'Squad' Over Moderates in Budget Standoff

House speaker calls centrists' concerns 'amateur hour'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) gives a speech as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) looks on / Getty Images
August 17, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) sided with her party's progressive caucus over moderate Democrats in their standoff over her $3.5 trillion budget resolution.

Pelosi, in a Monday call with House leadership, attacked the group of moderates, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.), who said they will vote against the speaker's budget resolution until the House passes the bipartisan $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan. "This is no time for amateur hour," Pelosi said to her leadership team, a comment that multiple Democrats understood as a reference to the moderates, according to Politico. "There is no way we can pass those bills unless we do so in the order that we originally planned."

Pelosi's comments place her on the side of the left-wing "Squad" and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which gave the opposite ultimatum, saying they will vote against the infrastructure bill until the House passes the budget resolution.

Pelosi's spending package includes mass amnesty for illegal immigrants and investments in climate change initiatives.

One Democratic representative told Politico that Pelosi will bring the budget to the House floor and "dare moderates to vote no."

Pelosi will have trouble passing both bills if the group of moderates, whose number has grown since Friday from 9 to 11, stick to their guns. Democrats' slim House majority means they can only afford to lose three votes in the chamber.

The Senate passed the infrastructure bill and approved a blueprint for the Democrats' multitrillion-dollar budget resolution last week.