House Democrats button budget votes while awaiting Senate

The hurdles preventing House Democrats from agreeing to a Senate-drafted climate, tax and health care package appear to be melting, but they are still dealing with a shrunken bill that lacks their top priorities.

After a year of shaky negotiations, Democrats have the support of Sen. Joe Manchin III for a budget reconciliation bill that includes major elements of the party agenda like clean energy incentives, provisions to cut drug costs and IRS funding. But it lacks relief from a state and local tax deduction limit and the Medicaid coverage gap, as well as immigration provisions and other measures that House members demanded to be part of all.

The House plans to return the second week of August to pick up the package, assuming the Senate has sent it by then, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Friday. The California Democrat was confident her caucus would buy into the measure, even if it didn’t include all of the priorities they sought.

“It’s, shall we say, not all I want — I mean not even close, not even half — but nonetheless what’s in it is very good, historic,” Pelosi said. “When they send it to us, we’ll pass it.”

Most House Democrats who lost on salient issues are willing to take what they can get from the Senate 50-50 before November’s midterm elections, but some are withholding support in hopes of get more.

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