The plan would see the House vote on a rule Monday night that would deem a $3.5 trillion budget as adopted while setting up a process for considering a bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate at an unspecified time.
The strategy is risky because 10 centrist Democrats have said they will not back the $3.5 billion budget without voting first on the infrastructure bill. It is not clear these Democrats will vote for the rule deeming the budget as being adopted.
Pelosi can afford only three defections if all Republicans vote against the rule as expected.
If the rule fails, it would be an embarrassing setback for Democrats that would highlight their divisions.
Pelosi has sided with liberals in the House, who make up a large majority of her caucus, in demanding that the lower chamber approve the budget before taking action on the infrastructure bill.
Pelosi rarely brings anything to the floor that does not have enough votes to pass, and fellow Democrats on Monday were wondering whether she can somehow find the votes to move the rule forward.
Members of Pelosi’s leadership team sounded uncertain if the plan would actually work.
When asked if Democrats have enough votes to adopt the rule, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) replied, “I have no idea.”
When asked if leadership had the votes to adopt the rule, Pelosi replied, “When we bring the bill to the floor, we will.”
One moderate Democrat predicted that the latest strategy wouldn’t fly. “The rule is going down,” the lawmaker told The Hill.
Progressives, meanwhile, expressed frustration with the centrists who began demanding a swift vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill only earlier this month even though Pelosi has said for months that the House wouldn’t vote on it until the larger $3.5 trillion spending plan to expand the social safety net is done.