House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that the House could cut its recess short and return in about two weeks to take up the sweeping $550 billion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate.
"For your scheduling purposes, assuming that the Senate does, in fact, complete work on a budget resolution, the House will return to session on the evening of August 23 to consider that budget resolution and will remain in session until our business for the week is concluded," Hoyer, of Maryland, the House majority leader, said in a statement to colleagues.
House members had been scheduled to return Sept. 20.
After clearing several procedural hurdles, the Senate infrastructure package passed 69-30 on Tuesday, with 19 Republicans joining all Democratic-voting senators. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has signaled that the bill will not get a House vote until the Senate passes a separate multitrillion-dollar package of safety net measures.
"The House will continue to work with the Senate to ensure that our priorities For The People are included in the final infrastructure and reconciliation packages, in a way that is resilient and will Build Back Better," she said in a statement.
However, Democrats have a slim majority in the House, and Pelosi may face resistance from progressive members, who want both measures to pass in tandem with a number of Democratic priorities included, and moderate members of the caucus concerned about the price tag of the budget reconciliation package.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Tuesday that the chamber will "immediately move" to pass the budget resolution to allow Democrats to craft a $3.5 trillion social safety net bill in conjunction with the infrastructure package. However, a marathon of votes, known as a "vote-a-rama," is expected before the resolution can pass.
Hoyer said in his letter that the House may take up other legislation, such as the voting rights bill named in honor of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the late civil rights icon.
"This critical bill honors the legacy of John Lewis and the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement by restoring the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were removed in the disastrous [Supreme Court] rulings," he said.