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Pelosi Vows To Pass Infrastructure Bill

Pelosi vows to pass infrastructure, eyes smaller social bill

Washington — With President Joe Biden’s broad domestic agenda at risk of collapse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday vowed that Democrats will pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill this week and push ahead on the bigger $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change bill while acknowledging the total amount will drop.

Pelosi had originally pledged to House moderates a vote on the infrastructure legislation by Monday, but she now says that timeline will likely fall to later in the week due to Democratic divisions, giving space for negotiations so both bills could be approved. She is pushing to advance both this week, though that is not at all certain.

The $1 trillion infrastructure plan passed the Senate last month.

“Let me just say that we’re going to pass the bill this week,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes. You cannot choose the date. You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will.”

When asked Sunday if Pelosi had the votes to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday, Biden told reporters at the White House, “It’s going to take the better part of this week.”

Still, in a delicate balancing act aimed at achieving the near Democratic unanimity needed to push the sprawling package through, Pelosi made clear that Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion for social spending and climate initiatives will need to be trimmed.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have said they won’t support a bill of that size. Manchin has previously proposed spending of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, an amount that progressives have called unacceptable for a bill they originally envisioned at $6 trillion.

Asked Sunday if she agrees the final number on the so-called reconciliation bill will be “somewhat smaller” than $3.5 trillion, Pelosi responded: “That seems self-evident.”

“We’ll see how the number comes down and what we need,” she added. “Again, the Senate and the House, those who are not in full agreement with the president, right, let’s see what our values — let’s not talk about numbers and dollars. Let’s talk about values.”

“I think even those who want a smaller number, support the vision of the president, and this is really transformative.”

Her comments Sunday reflected the enormous stakes for the coming week, one that could define the Biden presidency and shape the political contours of next year’s midterm elections.

Pelosi told fellow Democrats over the weekend that they “must” pass the social and environment package in the coming days, along with a separate infrastructure bill and a third measure preventing a government shutdown on Friday. Her letter to colleagues underscored the sense of urgency.

“The next few days will be a time of intensity,” she wrote.

Democrats have few votes to spare in the House and no votes to spare in the 50-50 Senate if there is no Republican support to enact Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” agenda. Republicans are lockstep against the larger measure.

Biden, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have led a behind-the-scenes hunt for compromises to resolve internal divisions and, they hope, allow approval of the mammoth bill soon.

The House Budget Committee on Saturday advanced a $3.5 trillion, 10-year bill strengthening social safety net and climate programs, though one Democrat voted “no,” illustrating the challenges party leaders face. The bill, which is certain to be revised before House voting, would be paid for with taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., who led a group of House moderates in pushing a quick vote by Monday on the infrastructure bill, said Sunday he wouldn’t be bothered by a slight delay. He was optimistic both pieces of legislation could be resolved this week.

“If the vote — the way these things work, if you start debating it and it rolls over to Tuesday, … I think we’re all reasonable people,” Gottheimer said. “There’s too much on the line here for our country.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said members of her group won’t be willing to support the infrastructure plan until there is “ironclad” agreement in the House and Senate on the reconciliation bill. She didn’t rule out additional cuts to the $3.5 trillion proposal to reach agreement.

“If somebody wants to take something out, we need to hear what that is,” she said.

Pelosi didn’t commit when asked about a vote this week on the social spending and climate bill, which Democrats intend to pass with a simple majority without GOP support. She suggested that House-Senate agreement could be reached this week, depending on rulings from the Senate parliamentarian on what provisions could be included.

“We are ready on our side,” Pelosi said. “We just have to see how quickly the parliamentarian can operate.”

The overall bill embodies the crux of Biden’s top domestic goals, with billions for rebuilding infrastructure, tackling climate change and expanding or introducing a range of services, from free prekindergarten to dental, vision and hearing aid care for seniors.

But there are broad disputes on paying for the legislation as well as over which initiatives should be reshaped, among them expanded Medicare, tax breaks for children and health care, a push toward cleaner energy and higher levies on the rich and corporations.

Republicans say the proposal is unneeded, unaffordable amid accumulated federal debt exceeding $28 trillion and reflects Democrats’ drive to insert government into people’s lives. Its tax boosts will cost jobs and include credits for buying electric vehicles, purchases often made by people with comfortable incomes, they said.

Pelosi spoke on ABC’s “This Week,” Gottheimer was on CNN’s “State of the Union,” and Jayapal appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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NMDPRA Assures Nigerians Of Steady Fuel Supply

The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says the queues at filling stations will soon disappear as marketers commence massive loading of petroleum products.

Mr Ahmed Farouk, Chief Executive of NMDPRA, gave the assurance during a stock monitoring exercise within depots in Lagos on Wednesday.

The NMDPRA boss led staff of the Authority to NIPCO, Total, Aiteo, OVH, Conoil, 11 Plc and HOGL depots in Apapa for on the spot assessment.

Farouk said the stock taking exercise was to ensure availability and effective distribution of petroleum products across the nation to reduce queues at filling stations.

“The essence of this exercise is to ensure that the entire states are wet with petroleum products to avoid scarcity and panic buying by commuters during this period.

“As an Authority, we are doing everything within our powers to make sure that there are enough petroleum products in the system to help alleviate the sufferings of commuters.

“With the issue of scarcity across the nation, l found it necessary that NMDPRA come and ensure that there is even distribution of petroleum products across the nation, especially petrol.

“I am comfortable with the the load-out of petrol across the depots.

“The current distribution of petrol across the nation will address the issue of tightness in the market,” he said.

The NMDPRA boss said all depots in Apapa had products and were loading massively to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other states.

He said three vessels were also discharging petrol at Apapa jetty to MOMAN, DAPPMAN and other depots.

Farouk urged Nigerians not to panic and avoid panic buying, while assuring of availability of sufficient products at filling stations across the country.

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