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Golden, Centrist Democrats Reach Deal With Pelosi To Split $1T Infrastructure And $3.5T Spending Plans

Jared Golden
David Sharp/AP
In April 27, 2019, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, speaks during a ceremony for a Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer named for former President Lyndon Baines Johnson in Bath, Maine. Golden is facing re-election in November 2020.

Democrats in the U.S. House Tuesday reached an agreement that will decouple a $1 trillion infrastructure bill recently passed by the Senate and another spending proposal containing the Biden administration's policy priorities. The deal comes after centrist Democrats, including Maine Congressman Jared Golden, refused to vote on the two proposals if they were packaged together.

Golden's position has drawn sharp criticism from liberal interest groups who viewed his banding with nine other centrists in their opposition to the package deal as a gamble that could sink Biden and the Democrats' policy agenda.

But in a press call with reporters Tuesday, Golden said he was not concerned that the deal reached with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would jeopardize the $3.5 trillion spending bill, also known as the reconciliation bill.

He said the strategy of combining the bills was a bad one from the start.

"I don't agree that tying the infrastructure bill to reconciliation in any way increased the likelihood of its success," he said. "It was a bogus strategy and I think one that might have led to them both failing."

Golden said that's because some centrist Democrats have already signaled discomfort with the size of the reconciliation bill.

Now, as a result of the agreement, the House will negotiate with Senate Democrats to make sure there's consensus on the larger spending proposal, while the infrastructure bill will come up for a vote on or before Sept. 27 – likely before the reconciliation bill.

Golden said he's not sure yet if he'll support the reconciliation bill, which has not been finalized but is expected to include paid family leave, subsidized child care, an expansion of the child tax credit and more subsidies to buy health plans through the Affordable Care Act.

The House gave initial approval to a blueprint of the $3.5 trillion spending bill Tuesday afternoon.

Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement that the vote begins the process of passing “the most consequential legislation Congress has considered since the Great Society.”

“This watershed bill will provide aid to working families, resources to fight the climate crisis, and tools for job creation and health care access that will remake millions of lives for the better,” she said. “The American people elected President Biden and this Congress to lift the nation up and give working families a fair shot. We are close to that goal and I will work hard to get this legislation to the President’s desk to fulfill our promises.”