House Vote Goes Record 7 Hours As Democrats Push To Pass Infrastructure, Spending Bills

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Topline

What was supposed to be a 15-minute vote on adjourning the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday morning dragged on for more than seven hours, setting a new record as House Democrats worked out what leaders hope are final details on an infrastructure bill and a spending package that have been negotiated for months.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) holds the gavel during the opening session of the 116th … [+] Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 3, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)


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Key Facts

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) proposed the motion to adjourn at 8:12 a.m. Eastern time, in what was intended to be a delaying tactic by Republicans ahead of expected votes on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package and a $1.75 trillion spending bill.

Voting on the two bills, which are considered signature pieces of legislation for President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled congress, has been held up for months due to infighting between centrists and progressives in the Democratic caucus.

Last-minute negotiation among Democrats took place throughout the day on Friday, which kept the motion to adjourn vote open and delayed other House business.

Voting on the motion to adjourn was closed at 3:18 p.m. on Friday—seven hours and six minutes after it started, after Democrats moved to begin floor debate ahead of a procedural vote on the spending bill.

Surprising Fact

The vote is by far the longest in the House’s modern history, according to multiple reports. The previous record was set in 2003, when Republicans used the time to ensure they had enough votes to create Medicare Part D. The 2003 vote was open for two hours and 50 minutes, according to Politico.

What To Watch For

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is reportedly trying to wrangle votes for the spending package from the final centrist holdouts, though some have expressed reservations that the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t released a full analysis of the bill yet. A CBO score is unlikely to be released for weeks, according to reports.

Key Background

Democrats appear closer than ever to passing the legislation, which has largely come down to how much the price tag should be on the spending bill. Leadership had initially proposed a $3.5 trillion package, but two Senate Democrats—Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—said the price was far too expensive. The bill was later revised down to $1.75 trillion to appease the senators, since Democrats must have both of their to pass the package in the Senate through the reconciliation process, which needs all 50 Democratic votes but doesn’t require any Republican support. Manchin said earlier this week that he still needs more time to review the impact the bill will have on inflation and the national debt, which could complicate matters since progressives in the House have said they want the two bills to be passed at once.

Further Reading

The House appears to have accomplished something on Friday: Its longest vote in decades. (Politico)

‘Quit Playing Games’: Manchin Demands Progressives Pass Infrastructure Package, But Declines Support For Spending Bill (Forbes)

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