WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders told lawmakers Friday that they hope to pass both the infrastructure bill and the multitrillion-dollar megabill next week, a highly ambitious timeline.
Two wings of the House Democratic caucus have been locked in a fight over the bills, with both sides threatening to sink legislation if their demands aren't met, fueling uncertainty that lawmakers could reach a self-imposed deadline next week.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her plan to hold two votes in a letter thanking colleagues for the "intense dialogue" over President Joe Biden's two big priorities.
"That intensity continues as we move forward to pass two jobs bills next week: the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework," Pelosi wrote.
She sent Democrats a link to the 2,465-page spending and tax bill before it heads for budget committee consideration Saturday, while adding: "As negotiations continue, there may be changes."
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the No. 4 ranking House Democrat, expressed confidence in that target.
"I believe we're on track to pass both bills next week,” he told NBC News on Friday morning. "I believe we will get both done."
Some Democrats immediately expressed skepticism that the larger package could be ready next week, as the party faces an array of divisions over policy and price tag.
"It would take an awful lot of work," said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a co-chair of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. "I certainly hope that that is happening right now, that those conversations are happening with members who have expressed concerns in the Senate, as well as in the House."
She said she wants the package to be more "targeted and fiscally responsible," without getting specific.
"What we're asking for is that it be pre-conferenced before both chambers move forward," Murphy added, suggesting that both the House and the Senate settle on a version before either chamber votes.
The plan to pass both bills next week is part of a high-wire act Pelosi is engaged in to get her fractious caucus on board.
The vote on the larger bill has not been locked in yet.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the progressive caucus chair, vowed that the infrastructure bill will fail in the House on Monday.
"It cannot pass," she told reporters, adding that "over half" her 95-member caucus is prepared to vote against it. "I don't bluff. I don't grandstand. We just don't have the votes for it."
She said the House and the Senate need to be on board with the reconciliation bill before either can pass.
Jayapal said House progressives "want to vote yes on both bills."
"I don't know how to trust that the Senate is going to do what they say they're going to do," she said. "So certainly we need agreement, public agreement; all the details need to be worked out."
Appearing Friday afternoon on MSNBC, Jayapal said she would like to sit down and talk directly to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. — the centrists most at odds with the left on the scope and substance of the mega-bill — to resolve their differences.
"I'm very happy to do that. And actually, there have been those — the beginnings of that starting to happen," the Democratic congresswoman said. "We've got requests to have those meeting so we're happy to do that. And they will get scheduled very soon."