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Rep. Josh Gottheimer. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Gottheimer, Pelosi agree to terms on infrastructure bill

By David Wildstein, August 24 2021 5:00 pm

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and eight other moderate Democrats who had been delaying the passage of the House’s multi-trillion dollar reconciliation bill brokered a deal with House leadership today, with all nine voting for a budget resolution that will allow reconciliation to begin. The resolution passed the House on party lines, 220-212.

In exchange, House leadership promised that the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the breakaway group demanded be voted upon first, would be put to a vote by September 27.

Gottheimer, who was portrayed in national media as a leader of the moderate holdouts, has argued that the country’s and state’s infrastructure needs should be met as quickly as possible by passing the Senate-approved infrastructure bill. 

Some of the state’s unions, among them LiUNA and the Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council, supported Gottheimer, but many other unions – as well as Democrats state- and nationwide – argued that President Joe Biden’s larger agenda should not be held up.

“We have established a path forward that ensures we can pass this once-in-a-century infrastructure investment by September 27th,” Gottheimer said in a statement after the deal was made. “With this week’s votes, we will also immediately begin the budget resolution process, which will include key policies, from climate protections to health care to universal pre-K to SALT that are critical for Northern New Jersey.”

New Jersey’s nine other Democrats, meanwhile, have made far fewer waves; all supported today’s budget resolution without strings attached.

“The American people elected President Biden and a Democratic House and Senate to commence the hard task of rebuilding America,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) said in a statement. “With today’s passage [of the budget resolution], we took a huge step toward passing the agenda Americans elected us to pursue.”

Pascrell also swiped at Gottheimer and his moderate allies in the statement, implicitly blaming them for holding up Biden’s agenda.

“The Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill is a commendable achievement,” Pascrell said. “But the delaying and grandstanding we saw this week was not helpful or productive.”

Democratic State Committee Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. similarly praised the bill’s passage, thanking in a statement “all members of our state’s congressional delegation for uniting behind the President and working together to pass both pieces of legislation.”

But if the resolution’s success might lessen anger directed at Gottheimer from the left, a statement from the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), which is targeting Gottheimer for defeat in 2022, shows that it will likely earn him increased flak from the right.

“Josh Gottheimer’s vote for Nancy Pelosi’s $3.5 trillion socialist spending spree proves he’s willing to sell out his constituents in exchange for campaign contributions,” said NRCC spokeswoman Camille Gallo. “New Jerseyans will hold him accountable.”

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