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The Senate Moves Ahead On A $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

OK, I want to bring back in NPR congressional correspondent Sue Davis.

Now, Sue, what struck you most from what you just heard from Secretary Buttigieg?

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Well, I think you raised a really good point about the future of this bill because they are tied in tandem to each other. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today said she still has no intention of bringing up the infrastructure bill until the Senate proves it can pass that budget resolution. Now, the secretary, was correct in that Kyrsten Sinema, the senator who said she opposes the dollar figure, did say that she would not stop the process. So they probably had the 50 votes they need just to get the process started. But big hurdles ahead for Democrats here.

Pelosi said today that she was rooting for the bill, but that the House would have to vet it. There's a lot of grumbling among Democrats on the House side that the bill isn't big enough. They didn't love that They didn't have any input into this. This was really a deal cut by the Senate and the White House. But truly the bottom line is if President Biden's on board for it, if the White House supports it, House Democrats don't really have a lot of room to renegotiate this deal that took weeks and weeks and weeks of bipartisan negotiations.

So the infrastructure package is in good shape to make its way through Congress. The bigger question is going to be about Democratic unity and can they keep together with these incredibly, historically narrow margins to try to advance a $3.5 trillion bill that would essentially rework the safety net of this country?

CHANG: That is NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis.

Thank you so much, Sue.

DAVIS: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.