Biden heads to Hill, as Democrats cut $ 3.5T plan – NBC10 Philadelphia

President Joe Biden will visit Capitol Hill on Friday as Democrats are determined to save a scaled-down version of his $ 3.5 trillion government overhaul and save a related public works bill after a long night of frantic negotiations which did not result in any agreement.

The White House said Biden was set to meet with House Democrats in a private caucus meeting on the advances. President Nancy Pelosi had sworn earlier that there would be a “vote today” on the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill which is popular but has become trapped in the larger debate. But the situation was very uncertain and no timetable was set.

Democratic Senator Holdout Joe Manchin of West Virginiasank is hoping for a compromise Thursday night, despite hours of shuttle diplomacy with White House aides on Capitol Hill, when he refused to budge on his demands for a smaller overall package, about $ 1.5 trillion. That’s too lean for progressive lawmakers who refuse to vote on the public works measure without a commitment to Biden’s larger framework on the bigger bill.

The talks revolved around a compromise in the order of $ 2 trillion. Due to ongoing negotiations, Biden chose to stay in Washington on Friday instead of traveling to his home in Delaware as he often does on weekends. Its public approval rating has dropped, according to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center.

“We understand that we are going to have to rally everyone to be able to make this deal,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We are waiting for this.”

The president and his party face a potentially embarrassing setback – and perhaps a politically devastating corporate-wide collapse – if they can’t resolve the impasse.

The promised vote on the first element of Biden’s proposal, the slimmer $ 1,000 billion public works bill, a set of roads and bridges, was under immediate threat.

Biden’s biggest proposal is a collection of Democratic priorities in the works, a radical rewrite of the country’s tax and spending policies that would essentially raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and put that money back into health care, l education and other programs, touching the lives of countless Americans.

Biden says the ultimate price is zero, because tax revenue would cover the costs of the expenses – higher rates for companies making more than $ 5 million a year and individuals making more than $ 400,000 a year, or 450 $ 000 for couples.

The White House and Democratic leaders are intensely focused on Manchin and to some extent Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, two centrist Democrats who helped push the public works bill through the Senate, but fear that Biden’s comprehensive bill is not too bulky. The two senators infuriated their colleagues by not making the specific counter-proposals public.

Manchin called an impromptu press conference on Thursday outside the Capitol, insisting he had been clear from the start.

“I’m ready to sit down and work on the $ 1.5,” Manchin told reporters, as protesters searched for a bigger package and Biden’s priorities chanted behind him.

After hours of negotiations that spanned around midnight on Thursday, he said he could not compromise yet. “I don’t see an agreement tonight. I’m really not doing it, ”Manchin told reporters as he left the Capitol.

Pelosi called it a “day of progress” in a letter to colleagues, but offered few other words on the way forward.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a late-night statement saying, “A lot of progress has been made this week, and we are closer than ever to a deal. But we’re not there yet, so we’ll need a little more time to finish the job.

The political stakes could hardly be higher. Biden and his party are aiming for a giant legislative achievement – promising to provide vision, dental and hearing care for the elderly, free kindergarten for young people, strategies to tackle climate change and more – with a slim majority in Congress.

“We are fighting for transformative legislation, as you all know; these discussions continued month after month after month, “said Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the budget committee and one of the leading progressive lawmakers. “It’s not a baseball game. It is the most important bill in 70 years. ”

While Republicans are all opposed to the president’s grand plan, ridiculing it as a slide into socialist-style spending, Biden seeks to strike a deal with members of his own party for a signing political achievement.

The Public Works Bill is one part of Biden’s larger vision, a $ 1 trillion investment in routine transportation, broadband, water supply systems and other supported projects. through additional funding. He gained bipartisan support in the Senate, but is now trapped by the larger debate.

It’s not just Manchin’s demands to reduce the overall size, but the conditions he wants to impose on new spending that will annoy his more liberal colleagues as he strives to ensure that aid only goes to low-income people, rather than larger groups of Americans. Tensions increased on Wednesday night when Manchin sent out a fiery statement denouncing the general spending as “fiscal madness.”

Sinema also tried to avoid criticism, and her office said claims that she had not come forward were “false” – although she did not publicly disclose her views on how tall she was. the packaging she wants and refused to answer questions about her position.

Democrats’ campaign promises were on the line, progressive lawmakers stormed, sparks flew at recalcitrant senators.

Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Another progressive leader, was clear in her criticism of Manchin’s remarks.

“Trying to kill your party’s agenda is madness. Not trying to make sure that the president that we all worked so hard to elect, that his platform is passed, is foolishness, ”she said.

Centrists were also frustrated and warned against canceling the public works vote. But a centrist leader, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, DN.J. remained optimistic, tweeting that he was awaiting the vote on Friday.

Also on Friday, the House and Senate were to swiftly approve a 30-day extension to surface transportation programs that were to expire with fiscal year-end, avoiding the layoff of more than 3,500 federal transportation workers.


Associated Press editors Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freking, Brian Slodysko, and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

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