Biden dives into high-stakes negotiations over Build Back Better infrastructure plan


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With plans to overhaul his government at stake, President Joe Biden appeared determined to strike a deal with two staggering Democratic senators on Wednesday, possibly trimming back the size of his potentially historic $3.5 trillion measure that would support his would collapse without it.


With Republicans vehemently opposed and no Democratic votes left, Biden canceled a trip to Chicago to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations so that he could dig in for another day of intense talks before the crucial vote. can do Allies went to Capitol Hill for talks, and went to the White House to meet with the late House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Biden.

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The risks are clear, but so is the potential reward as Biden and his party reach for a colossal legislative achievement – promising a vast rewrite of the nation’s balance sheet with an ever-increasing majority in Congress. His idea is to essentially raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and use that money to expand government health care, education and other programs – an effect that will be felt in countless American lives.

“We take it one step at a time,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.

September 29: Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) walk down the stairs of the Senate side of the US Capitol on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Attention is focused on West Virginia’s censor Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema, centrist Democrats. They share a concern that the overall size of Biden’s plan is too large, but differ on specifics, according to a person familiar with the private talks, and allowing anonymity to discuss them.

It appears Manchin has less question about the revenue side of the equation – higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy – than spending plans and specific policies, particularly those related to climate change for his coal-focused state. are important. He wants any expansion of aid programs for Americans to be based on income needs, not just for everyone.

Although Cinema has been less open to the public in her views, she focuses her questions on a menu of tax options, including an increased corporate rate, which some in the business community argue will drive the US overseas. Can make you less competitive and the personal rate that warns others may be small business owner.

related: House votes to suspend debt limit, bill heads to Senate

Together, the two senators have the key to opening the impasse on Biden’s broader vision, the heart of his campaign pledge. While neither of them has said no to a deal, they have yet to indicate yes, leaving the talks in a tizzy.

In a fiery statement late Wednesday, Munchkin described the widespread spending as “fiscal insanity” and warned that without adjustments he would not get his vote. “I can’t — and can’t — support the trillions in spending or all-or-nothing approach,” he said.

Trouble ahead, Pelosi suggested she could postpone Thursday’s vote on a related $1 trillion public works measure that centrist senators have wanted, but not until there is movement on Biden’s comprehensive package, with progressives. Threatening defeat.

It’s a pressure point on senators and other centrist lawmakers to settle with Biden, but with Munchkin and cinema, it seemed unlikely. Manchin told reporters late Wednesday that he does not believe a settlement can be reached in time for that vote.

related: What happens when the government is shut down?

At the same time, Congress is beginning to address a more immediate crisis, one that prompted Republicans to raise the nation’s debt limits to keep the government funded during last Thursday’s fiscal year and avoid a dangerous default on lending. for the refusal to ratify the law.

Democrats are separating the government funding and debt ceiling vote into two bills, one closer to the October deadline, separating the more heated debate over debt limits for another day.

The Senate is set to vote Thursday on whether to provide government funding to survive the federal shutdown, with operations tentatively running until December 3. The House is expected to follow suit expeditiously.

With Biden and his party achieving a signing policy feat, there is a strong sense that progress is being made on the bigger bill, said an administration official who requested anonymity to discuss private talks.

The president is meeting separately with Munchkin and cinema at the White House this week and on the phone with lawmakers shaping the package. Democrats are ready to downplay the tax proposals of the giant Biden measure and the spending targets Munchkin and Cinema are demanding to reach an overall size.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we’re in the middle of a conversation and everyone has to give a little bit,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Saki said that members of Congress are “not the flowers of the wall” but have a range of views. “We listen, we engage, we negotiate. But ultimately, there are strong perspectives and what we’re working to do is a compromise.”

Biden’s problems with fellow Democrats aren’t just in the Senate. A small number of centrist House Democrats also have a far-reaching agenda of their domestic agenda, which would expand health care, education and climate change programs, all to be paid for by higher tax rates.

Progressive lawmakers have warned against cutting too much, saying they have already reached a substantial settlement, and threatened to halt support for fellow $1 trillion public works, which they say is Biden’s big package. Without assurance of very little.

But the centrist warned of canceling Thursday’s vote “as a breach of trust that will slow the pace of progress moving forward in delivering the Biden agenda,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., of Centrist Blue. A leader of the Dog Democrats.

Republicans are opposing Biden’s larger approach, viewing the $3.5 trillion package as a slide toward socialism and a government intrusion on Americans’ lives.

Biden insists the price tag would be virtually zero because the expansion of government programs would largely be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy — businesses that make more than $5 million per year, and $400,000 per individual. year, or earn more than $450,000. couple

The House voted on Wednesday to extend the debt limit through Dec. 16, but it remains doubtful that the Democratic bill will pass the Senate in the face of GOP opposition — putting that debate on hold for another day.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress she has until October 18 when her department will end all of its “extraordinary measures” to avoid defaulting on government obligations.


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Marie Claire Jalonik, Kevin Freaking, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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