Rep. Kevin Brady, the Texas Republican who took a leading role in pushing former President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax-cut bill in 2017, said Thursday that he thinks Democrats will be able to force two massive spending bills through Congress before October.
Prospects for both a bipartisan $1 trillion physical infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bid dimmed last week, when a group of centrist Democrats threatened to withhold their support.
The group of nine moderate Democrats demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., promise them a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package prior to passing the Democrat-backed $3.5 trillion package aimed at climate change, poverty and so-called “human infrastructure.”
Pelosi and the nine moderates, led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, managed to strike a deal this week and forged ahead on a combined $4.5 trillion in fiscal stimulus.
CNBC’s Joe Kernen asked Brady for his thoughts on the odds Democrats will be able to pass both bills in the House before the end of September given what’s expected to be a lengthy markup process.
I think the odds “could be good,” Brady replied. “I think Democrats have a lot of momentum after this week’s vote. I don’t think anyone dreamed that the speaker would be able to, in effect, bully every member of her conference into giving a green light to these tax increases. But she did.”
The conceding tone from Brady, who is retiring from Congress, came in stark contrast to a defiant House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who on Wednesday vowed to do everything he can to stop the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social spending plans backed by President Joe Biden.
“It’ll be over my dead body, because I’m going to do everything in our power to stop it,” McCarthy said when asked if he expected trillions in new spending to pass Congress by September.
Both McCarthy and Brady said they oppose the bipartisan, $1 trillion infrastructure bill intended to improve the nation’s highways, bridges and high-speed broadband access. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supports that measure.
Still, Brady’s tone may reflect the thinking of other members of the GOP caucus who have otherwise watched as Democrats leveraged slim majorities in the House and Senate to muscle through Biden’s sweeping economic agenda.
Democrats hope their go-big approach will help them retain control over both chambers in the critical 2022 midterm elections, while Republicans attack Democrats for fiscal mismanagement and sparking inflation.
A united Democratic House passed a procedural motion along party lines on Tuesday, paving the way for party leaders to write and approve the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill without Republican support.