Those divisions signal a long slog ahead. The Senate’s 48 Democrats and two independents were expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday to approve a budget blueprint that instructs Senate committees to produce legislation this fall that spends $3.5 trillion to expand Medicare and health insurance subsidies, extend lucrative tax credits for virtually all families with children, fund universal preschool and two years of free community college, and expand elder care and child care — all financed by tax increases on the rich and on corporations.
Under complicated budget rules, that legislation would then be protected from a Republican filibuster and could pass the Senate this fall without one Republican vote — if all 50 senators who caucus with Democratic leadership hold together. A single defection would doom it.
House Democrats have their own problems. House leaders plan to hold a conference call as soon as Wednesday with the entire caucus to appeal for unity and plan a path forward, House Democrats said on Tuesday. The Biden administration has deployed several senior officials to meet with lawmakers, including the progressive, Black and Hispanic caucuses.
“We’ll get it done,” Mr. Biden said.
The House passed its own infrastructure bill, which includes more money for climate change mitigation, and nearly $5.7 billion to pay for 1,473 home district projects, or earmarks, that were vetted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Representative Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, the committee’s chairman and the bill’s author, wants a seat at the table, not a rubber stamp for the Senate bill — though he indicated on Tuesday that some of his infrastructure demands, especially on climate change, could shift to the social policy bill.
The White House has sent mixed messages. Just after passage on Tuesday, Mr. Biden declared on Twitter: “Big news, folks: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal has officially passed the Senate. I hope Congress will send it to my desk as soon as possible.”
But the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, nearly 100 members strong and backed by Ms. Pelosi, say they will not pass any stand-alone infrastructure bill unless and until the Senate approves the left’s priority, all $3.5 trillion of the social policy bill, which would be the largest expansion of the social safety net since the Great Society of the 1960s.