Pelosi may have to rely on Republicans to pass bipartisan infrastructure bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she’s promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free While Pelosi is a master at counting votes in her own party, she has less experience getting an accurate read on the Republican side of the aisle.

What we’re hearing: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House Republican whip and an opponent of advancing the bill, has been quietly counting how many Republicans are expected to vote for it. Members returned to town Monday after spending most of the past seven weeks on recess, giving them a chance to have face-to-face conversations and figure out where they stand.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump earlier this year, also is privately taking the temperature of his GOP colleagues.

Upton, a member of the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus, is in favor of advancing the legislation.

Pelosi’s other option is to convince the 10 centrists that she needs more time to pass the concurrent $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. The White House continues to coordinate its strategy with congressional leaders and is starting to engage with the centrists, with Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, and Louisa Terrell, the head of legislative affairs, scheduled to meet with the New Democrat Coalition on Tuesday afternoon.

The Business Roundtable also is weighing in, urging lawmakers to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Sept. 27.

"The House should not delay in sending this bill to the president’s desk," Joshua Bolten, the BRT’s president and chief executive officer, said in a letter sent to lawmakers Monday night.

Axios talked to a number of House Republican members and aides about how many Republicans they think would support the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill.

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