Nancy Pelosi just bent time to make September stretch into October as she frantically tries to pass Biden's infrastructure bill

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Nancy Pelosi just bent time to make September stretch into October as she frantically tries to pass Biden's infrastructure bill
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on August 25, 2021. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
  • The House never gaveled out on Thursday night, meaning it's technically still September 30.
  • It's a political maneuver from Pelosi to provide cover to moderates who demanded an infrastructure bill.
  • The speaker is a shrewd veteran of DC, and her ability to bend time is just one example of that. It also shows the bind she's in.

It's Friday, October 1. But there's one place in America where September hasn't ended - a lone holdout that chose to suspend itself in time.

In Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives, it's still Thursday, September 30. It's still technically the same day Pelosi yanked a vote on President Joe Biden's $550 billion infrastructure bill in the face of a progressive revolt.

The chamber never gaveled out on Thursday night, meaning Pelosi effectively bent time and stretched September into October so she could keep a pledge to House moderates pressing for an infrastructure vote that month.

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If the House deciding to alter the fabric of time doesn't make sense, it shouldn't. Only in Congress can time be warped for political gain.

It underscores the bind that Pelosi is in trying to pass Biden's agenda, and the procedural lengths she'll go to in order to pacify a small but potent faction of her party's moderate wing, given the three-seat margin she has to maneuver around. The moderate group rebelled in August and threatened to derail a broader $3.5 trillion budget plan aimed at providing affordable childcare, tuition-free community college, an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, and an extension of monthly child tax credit checks.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey said Thursday he was "1,000% confident" that the vote would go ahead as scheduled, but just then progressives staged their own rebellion, digging in on their demands to approve the bipartisan bill only when the party-line social spending package had cleared the Senate.

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"It ain't over yet!" Gottheimer tweeted after Pelosi bailed on the vote. "This is just one long legislative day - we literally aren't adjourning."

An infrastructure vote didn't appear to be any closer on Friday with centrists and moderates far apart on the size and scope of the social spending plan. House Democrats are expected to meet for a second time with Biden as he scrambles to salvage the bulk of economic agenda from collapse.

In the first meeting, Pelosi explained her long September by reportedly referring to Umberto Eco's "The Island of the Day Before," the story of a person who ended up aboard a deserted ship, isolated from the rest of civilization.

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As a college professor, Eco was engrossed by the idea of semiotics, and argued books were open fields of meaning with infinite interpretations. Pelosi, without striking the gavel, turned the clock back to September from October - back to the Congress of the day before. For lawmakers, it's all in the interpretation. Even what month it is.

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