Washington – President Joe Biden vowed to “get it done” in the Capitol on Friday as Democrats pressed to save a scaled-back version About his $3.5 trillion government-overhaul plan and salvage the concerned Public Works Bill after days of Frantic talk.
But it’s not happening yet.
Biden raged on his home turf with House Democrats in a private meeting that was partly prescriptive, a morale booster for a torn caucus of lawmakers, telling them he wanted both bills to be passed in time. be passed regardless. According to lawmakers in the room, they discussed a settlement topline of $1.9 trillion to more than $2 trillion for their bigger vision.
But it was clear that they were all in it for the long haul as the White House and its allies in Congress gear up for long talks.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters outside the US Capitol on September 30, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by Kevin Detsch/Getty Images)
“It doesn’t matter if it’s six minutes, six days or six weeks — we’re going to get it done,” Biden announced to reporters as he left his late afternoon meeting at the Capitol.
It’s a critical time for both the president and the party, as Biden’s approval ratings have plummeted and Democrats are restless, eager to fulfill their signature campaign promise of rebuilding the country. His ideas go beyond infrastructure of roads and bridges, providing dental, vision and hearing care for seniors, free pre-kindergarten for youth, major efforts to combat climate change and other investments that will impact countless American lives. .
Biden’s sudden visit to Capitol Hill was intended to give the law a needed boost toward the finish line. holdout Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia Hopes of a speedy settlement on a framework were dashed after White House aides refused to rise late Thursday on their demands for a smaller package of about $1.5 trillion, despite hours of diplomatic talk.
Without a comprehensive deal, prospects for Friday’s vote on the companion public works bill stalled, with progressives refusing to cast their votes until senators reached an agreement. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to aides late in the evening that “more time is needed” as they shape the broader package.
Instead the House passed a 30-day stopgap measure to keep transportation programs running during the impasse, essentially setting a new deadline for talks, October 31. The Senate was set to follow up with a vote on Saturday, withholding the leave of more than 3,500. Federal transportation workers, a byproduct of the political deadlock.
With Republicans in opposition to Biden’s broader vision, the president and his party are reaching for a huge legislative achievement on their own — all to be paid for. Federal balance sheet rewrite With tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, those who make more than $400,000 a year.
As a ground for action in Congress on Friday, Biden did not present any specific new legislative strategy. Keeping his promise to centrists, Pelosi insisted there would be a “vote today” on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is popular but has been mired in debate over Biden’s sweeping measure.
Democratic progressives refused to voice their support for that slimmer road-and-bridge bill unless advances were made on the president’s larger bill, with Pelosi calling for the vote with an oh-so-slim House majority. was not ready.
Biden insisted that both bills passed, approving the Progressives’ strategy, while acknowledging a compromise with the centrists who floated low numbers.
“He was really clear that we needed to get both bills done,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a leader of the Congress Progressive Caucus.
Manchin and to a lesser extent Sen. Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, two centrist Democrats who helped the $1 trillion public works bill pass the Senate but worry Biden’s overall bill is too large. The two senators have angered allies with their close talks that could stall Biden’s effort — and his own campaign promises.
After talks that lasted for hours near midnight on Thursday, Munchkin said he was yet to settle on more than his $1.5 trillion offer.
Biden, a former six-term senator who is making his first personal visit to the House Democratic caucus, told lawmakers on Friday that “I know a little bit about the legislative process,” according to a person familiar with the private comments and Anonymity allowed. to discuss them. He said even a small bill could make for a historic investment in areas such as childcare, daycare and clean energy.
Biden also aired a story that marked the moment.
The president told him that when his White House office was renovated, it was hung with photographs of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, presidents who “led a deeply divided country and the greatest economic change ever — and This is the kind of moment we are in,” said Rip David Chisilin, DR.I.
The White House said the president plans to travel to other cities next week to make sure his historic measures will help the American people.
Biden’s big proposal is a one-year collection of Democratic priorities with a final price tag they say is zero, because the tax revenue will cover the cost of the expense — the higher rate on businesses earning more than $5 million a year, and $450,000 for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year, or $450,000 for couples.
Tensions escalated late Wednesday when Munchkin sent out a furious statement, calling the widespread spending “fiscal insanity.”
It is not only Manchin’s demand that he reduce the overall size, but the terms he is insisting are irritating his more liberal allies. For example, he wants to make sure that aid goes only to low-income people, and not to a broader swath of Americans. And he is resisting some bold efforts to tackle climate change.
Another progressive leader, D-Min, Representative Ilhan Omar, retorted: “Trying to kill your party’s agenda is madness,” she said.
The total legislative effort is testing not only Biden, but Pelosi and some key figures in the Democratic Party, whose legacies will shape whether they succeed or fail.
“As you all know, we are fighting for transformational legislation. These discussions have been going on month after month,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the budget committee and a prominent progressive lawmaker. . “It’s not a baseball game. It’s the most important piece of legislation in 70 years.”
Associated Press writers Marie Claire Jalonik, Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freaking, Brian Slodisko and Padmananda Ram contributed to this report.