Jayapal warned Klain not to push an infrastructure vote. Then chaos ensued.

What happened next is a dizzying fall of dominoes. Biden did not directly urge Democrats in the House of Representatives to pass his bipartisan infrastructure bill so that Pelosi could apply. Then Jayapal’s Progressives fought against the infrastructure vote that the speaker wanted to bring about – taking advantage of the President’s missing request for cover.

By Thursday’s dinner, the House Democratic leadership’s plans to pass the infrastructure bill had imploded for the second time in a month, an embarrassing defeat as the president was on his way to Rome. After the house went home, Pelosi crouched with her two deputies, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

The top three Democrats knew they were in close proximity for the law to be passed that morning and were stunned by the lack of a direct request from Biden. Everyone agreed, so they couldn’t get the votes.

“It all boils down to no demand,” Hoyer said, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

The call between the top progressive of the House of Representatives and Chief of Staff von Biden illustrates the struggle of democratic leaders to be on the same side as they can exercise their complete control over Congress and the White House – not to mention the limits of that control. In the end, the Democrats – and Biden himself – received nothing, escalating tensions throughout the party and, at a critical time, left a rift in trust between the legislature and the executive.

During Biden’s visit to the hill after Klain-Jayapal’s phone call, the president took Democratic leaders by surprise by not directly asking the faction to pass the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Thursday, according to several Democrats familiar with the strategy . Pelosi even rose in front of their members to clarify the point and pushed straight for the long-awaited infrastructure vote to give Biden a major legislative victory before leaving for Europe.

“The president asked for our vote today,” Pelosi told the caucus, according to a source familiar with the statements. “In order for us to be successful, we have to be successful today.”

A Democratic source in the room for Biden’s visit noted that he touted the Infrastructure Act, deliberately highlighting its components that would be most attractive to progressives. Some of the most important ones include the bill’s provisions on climate resistance and helping with nationwide lead pipelines that continue to expose children to toxins in the water.

But the damage was done to an infrastructure bill that Biden publicly blessed four months ago. Though Pelosi and her leadership team toiled for several hours more to round up the voices – mobilize their whipping machines and press the White House to clarify that Biden wanted Democrats to vote yes that day – encouraged liberals did not budge.

As the day wore on, senior Democrats only got angrier over the White House silence. While he was taking Air Force One to Rome, Biden made just one phone call, which the House Democrats were informed of – to Rep Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) To tell her he appreciated it her CNN appearance speak positively about their agenda. Biden then reiterated that, according to several Democrats familiar with the conversation, he was not specifically pushing for the House to pass the infrastructure vote immediately.

“We don’t comment on private conversations with lawmakers, but the president fights every day to get the bipartisan infrastructure agreement and Build Back Better Act into effect as soon as possible because they will change the lives of millions by making sure that our economy for the middle class, “said Andrew Bates, White House spokesman. Bates pointed to the multiple benefits of the Social Spending Framework, including in the areas of climate and childcare.

Immediately after meeting Biden, Jayapal crouched with her progressive faction where she told them she had previously urged the White House not to get the progressives to vote on infrastructure alone, according to people in the room.

“The President gave a really convincing speech on both bills. He said he would like both bills to pass, “Jayapal told reporters after Biden’s meeting on Thursday. “He didn’t ask for a vote [infrastructure] today. The speaker did it, but he didn’t. ”

Biden’s reluctance to call for a vote on Thursday was one of several glaring problems senior Democrats had with White House strategy during the chaotic nine hours before Pelosi and her leadership team tore the infrastructure bill for the second time in a month.

When Biden tried to sell his incomplete social spending framework to the public and gave a speech shortly after his visit to the Democrats in the House of Representatives, he and his team failed to try to clarify whether or not they wanted an infrastructure vote on Thursday.

And in a replay of the September fighting, the White House again failed to aggressively lobby to get the progressives to provide the votes for the infrastructure package. Although several cabinet members made calls or met virtually with members, none appeared to be clearly pushing for an infrastructure vote on Thursday. Instead, Biden’s cabinet warned Democrats not to cram too much into the separate social spending package.

Several Democrats even directly urged senior White House officials to vote on the infrastructure bill at briefings on the social spending framework on Thursday, but never received a direct response, according to several sources familiar with the meetings.

In particular, the tense dynamic between the White House and the Democrats in the House has intensified over the past month. Some Democrats say this is in part due to Klain’s friendly relationship with the progressives, which has given the party’s liberal wing a powerful ally in the White House – unlike in previous Democratic governments.

Klain, multiple sources say, speaks primarily to progressive lawmakers and is rarely, if ever, the person to whom the House leadership or centrist Democrats in the White House turn.

Its coziness with the left has frustrated leaders and moderate Democrats, who sometimes see it as an obstacle to getting Biden’s agenda through, though it has earned him praise from progressives who believe it would be a blessing to set as many of their priorities as possible say goodbye to democrats. A well-known source added that Klain is speaking to House officials, moderate senators and, in recent weeks, centrist MP Josh Gottheimer, who has been in favor of the House voting quickly on infrastructure. The White House claims Klain, like other key figures on Biden’s team, is in frequent contact with Capitol Hill.

House Democratic leaders plan to put Biden’s agenda back on the agenda next week, though any vote would almost certainly come after their party’s crucial gubernatorial race in Virginia on Tuesday.

Pelosi and her leadership team have directed House Committee Chairs to formalize their revisions of the original 1,684-page draft of Biden’s Bill by Sunday evening. After a five-hour hearing on the social spending bill on Thursday, Democrats on the House Rules Committee plan to meet again on Monday to further top up their roughly $ 1.75 trillion investment in climate protection and the safety net.

“I fully understand the desire to get everything done before these really meaningful meetings and talks,” said Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) MP, one of about three dozen progressives who refused to pay the $ 550 billion infrastructure bill US dollars to support floor this week.

“But the challenge is to make sure we both get bills.”

Nicholas Wu contributed to the coverage.

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