President Joe Biden proposed a $2 trillion price tag for a social spending plan that covers most of his economic agenda, in an effort to compromise the party’s warring factions and get his agenda across the finish line with wafer-thin Democratic majorities.
Biden told progressive Democrats on Friday to lower their expectations when it comes to the price tag on the party’s much-discussed spending bill. But he also endorsed their demands for a two-pronged strategy to pass an infrastructure bill and social spending plans in tandem.
The president urged his fellow Democrats to support a total of between $1.9 trillion and $2.3 trillion on the spending package that would one day cost $3.5 trillion, according to Politics.
Rep. Henry Cuellar from Texas said: reporters Biden said the final number for reconciliation will likely be $2 trillion. Cuellar also said the president has “essentially linked the fates of the packages.”
After a separate meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin hinted at what a final deal might entail, telling reporters he remains “enthusiastic” about providing universal childcare, extending the child tax credit and reducing childcare costs. the tuition fees at community colleges.
“Maybe not everything can be funded for 10 years, maybe it will be a shorter period,” Raskin said. “But at least we’ll be able to develop these programs and make a commitment to the American people.”
Biden’s visit reflects a last-ditch effort to align progressives and moderates after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cast a vote Thursday night on his bipartisan infrastructure bill in the face of a progressive insurgency. They are demanding the approval of a larger social spending plan aimed at combating the climate emergency, securing affordable childcare and tuition-free community college before cleaning up the traditional infrastructure package.
But the infighting between parties this week has brought much of Biden’s economic agenda to a standstill. Biden told lawmakers at Friday’s meeting that the infrastructure bill “will not happen until we reach an agreement on the next piece of legislation,” Politico reported.
The president reportedly stressed that even an account costing less than $3.5 trillion can “make historic investments.”
Pelosi gambled heavily earlier this week, telling the caucus that the infrastructure bill had to be passed, even as the spending package was far from getting approval in the Senate. She said Democrats had to make “difficult choices” as there was no agreement yet on a final, smaller price tag for the larger anti-poverty bill.
The California legislature’s plan sparked a progressive uprising that has jeopardized Biden’s economic agenda. With no reconciliation over the spending bill, progressive Democrats have pledged to fuel the infrastructure bill.
Party leaders hope to solidify the deal at $2.1 trillion, but Rep. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, confirmed thursday he will not vote for a bill costing more than $1.5 trillion.
Still, Biden urges Democrats to unite around both measures to renew the country’s physical infrastructure and strengthen its social safety net. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in six minutes, six days or six weeks,” Biden told reporters. “We’re going to get it done.”