House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy justified pushing his caucus to oppose a $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal that passed the Senate.
"People have differences of opinion, but the one thing, I think, everybody now sees is what the bill passed in the Senate is a different situation now that it came to the House," McCarthy said in a press conference on Thursday. "It's one bill. So you're not voting for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, you're voting for a $5 trillion bill."
House Republican leaders announced on Tuesday that they will whip votes against the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which was crafted by a bipartisan group of senators and passed with support from 19 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, last month.
Democratic leaders, though, have put the bill on a two-track path alongside a sweeping social programs spending bill of up to $3.5 trillion that can pass without Republican support in the Senate.
The conservative Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee for weeks had been messaging against the infrastructure bill, calling it a "trojan horse" for the reconciliation bill.
Now, left-wing Democrats are sparring with centrist Democrats over the content and timing of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills. Dozens of members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are expected to vote against the infrastructure bill if the reconciliation bill is not ready.
"They have their internal firing squad right now upset with each other because one side won't vote for it unless they get reconciliation," McCarthy said. "So whatever agreement they come upon is not about the infrastructure, it's about whether they can spend $5 trillion. That's different than what they saw in the Senate."
Despite House Republican leadership whipping votes against the infrastructure bill, a handful of Republicans say they will still vote in favor of it.
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said on CNN Thursday that "it is a mistake" for Republican leadership to whip votes against the bill.
"I think we need to allow members to vote on a bipartisan bill as they wish. There is concern, of course, with what you're seeing on the Democratic side, where progressives are saying we have to pass the $3.5 trillion before we can even talk about this $1.5," Kinzinger said. "Members of the Republicans that want to vote for the bipartisan bill, you shouldn't whip against it. I intended to vote for it. I think there will be a number of people joining me."
McCarthy rebuffed the suggestion that he is asking his conference to vote against popular infrastructure spending programs.
"You don't get millions of dollars for roads and broadband. What you get is $5 trillion of more inflation, you get a bigger socialist big government, you get a harm to our economy," McCarthy said.
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