The House Problem Solvers Caucus might have helped craft the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but GOP whipping is putting pressure on the bipartisan group’s Republicans to vote against it as Democrats have pushed the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill as a companion package.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., is waging a “strong” effort to block a signature victory for the Democrat-led Congress before the 2022 midterms, a Republican told Politico.
Still, there are going to be Republicans supporting infrastructure spending in the face of party pressure, according to Problem Solvers Caucus founding co-chair Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y.
“From a caucus perspective, we’re going to be there – not everybody, but we’re going to have a sizable showing – and that’s a good thing,” Reed told Politico. “Substantively, it’s a pretty solid bill.”
There are about 10 House Republicans, all members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, who are going to vote for the infrastructure bill, sources told Politico.
“This bipartisan infrastructure bill was essentially a Problem Solvers product,” Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., a caucus member told Politico. “It would not be an argument in favor of bipartisanship for the Republicans who are part of that to turn their backs on it now.”
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., says he “helped write it,” but McCarthy came out against the bill Thursday because of the plan to companion the bill with the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
It puts Katko and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., a Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair, in a bind.
Fitzpatrick met with fellow chair this week, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., to try to whip up votes from the 29 GOP members in the caucus, which has had some struggles to stick together after the divisive actions on the Jan. 6 Select Committee started by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“So many people’s decision depends on how the process plays out,” Fitzpatrick told Politico. “There’s a lot of people who support infrastructure, who may not be in love with the bill but they’re OK with it. But they want nothing to do with the $3.5 trillion.”
But, two staunch supporters of President Donald Trump not in the Problem Solvers Caucus, Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y. and Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., both told Politico.
“It’s like every other bill: There are good things, and not so good things, and you have to balance it with your district and see what would be the best vote,” Malliotakis told Politico.