“We have to accept it, and then we have to see it so that I can have an almost religious experience of what it is,” Ms. Pelosi said in her Capitol office shortly after the vote on the bill, which was delayed. until Friday morning by an angry eight o’clock opponent from California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader. “But this is a big deal.”
While her primary responsibility was to handle disputes in the House of Representatives, Ms Pelosi devoted much of her time to Mr Manchin and Ms Cinema, who have the power to thwart a deal in an equally divided Senate if they refuse.
Ms. Pelosi is associated with both. She became close to Mr. Manchin, who, like Ms. Pelosi, grew up in a political family, due to their shared Italian heritage and Catholicism, as well as her work in health care and retirement benefits for miners presented in her office with a statue of a gifted miner. her Mr. Manchin.
When Ms. Pelosi wanted to send Mr. Manchin a vote on voting rights this year, she ordered it literally on a silver platter given to her by Robert S. Byrd, the former West Virginia Senate leader, whom Mr. Manchin often quotes. like a guiding star. The tray, which is warmly written in appreciation for Ms. Pelosi’s work in raising funds to secure the Democratic Senate majority in 1987, is a reminder to Mr. Manchin of the speaker’s past relationship with his predecessor.
“I thought he should see this,” Ms. Pelosi said with a chuckle.
Ms. Pelosi knew Ms. Cinema as an activist in Arizona even before she was elected to the House of Representatives, where they developed mutual respect and understanding. It was the warning signs from Ms Cinema at the end of September that prompted Ms Pelosi to embark on the delicate task of separating the social policy bill from the bipartisan infrastructure measure that had already been approved by the Senate with Ms Cinema as lead author.
Progressives were adamant that they would only support the public works bill after being reassured that Senate Democrats, especially Mr Manchin and Ms Cinema, were committed to voting on the Social Policy Bill – a guarantee that didn’t and still doesn’t do it. exist.
With the voting deadline approaching, Ms. Pelosi opened a return channel for Ms. Cinema through former spokesman Joe Kennedy III, a friend of Ms. Cinema, who entered the House with her in 2013.