Biden met with House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal on Monday morning
President Biden is meeting with separate groups of liberals and progressives House Democrats on Tuesday, as Democrats continue to reach for a deal on their massive reconciliation spending bill, less than two weeks from their latest self-imposed deadline.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the president on Monday, “Tomorrow, here at the White House, he will host two interagency meetings with members of the House, one with moderates and one with progressives.” “We are encouraged by the accelerated pace of negotiations and look forward to completing it.”
Psaki also said that Biden met with Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., on Monday morning and that he has regularly been on the phone with “members who represent the full spectrum of Hill Democrats’ views.”
Saki’s optimistic tone comes despite massive policy differences between moderates and progressives, which would be extremely difficult to bridge if Democrats were to get all their members behind a single bill.
Swipe on Munchkin after new demands to severely limit Progressive Child Tax Credit: ‘Brutal’
For example, Sen. Joe Manchin, DW-VA, told the White House that any expansion of the Child Tax Credit should be means-tested and require work. The program is a high priority for progressives, and if Democratic leaders let Munchkin lead their way on that issue and others, it’s likely some progressives will continue to hold the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage.
The president’s meetings with members of the House follow a weekend spat between Munchkin and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, over whether the Democrats’ spending plan will be a good thing for West Virginians. The latest chapter of the feud between these two began when Sanders had a Op-Ed in a West Virginia newspaper The $3.5 trillion spending bill, Manchin said, is too expensive.
“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stateer has tried to tell West Virginians what’s best for them despite having no ties to our state,” Munchkin shot back in a statement. . “I will not vote for reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-proclaimed free socialist is going to change that.”
Democrat leader says House will soon plan infrastructure, social spending
Top Democrats are aiming to get an agreement on a framework for the reconciliation bill by at least October 31, as that is when a temporary re-authorization of surface transportation programs comes to an end. The idea is that if progressives are assured that a reconciliation bill that meets their demands will be passed, they will block the infrastructure bill’s blockade.
But it is not clear if this will happen, as Jayapal and other progressives have specifically demanded that there be reconciliation before voting on infrastructure. And a full conciliation bill would take at least weeks to agree, write and pass.
Democrats may just pass another short-lived surface transportation bill to buy themselves more time in November. But the December deadline for Congress to fund the government and raise the debt limit is ahead, both of which could all turn into a political battle as Congress tries to avert an economic disaster.
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And once the calendar shifts to an election year of 2022, it is unclear whether there will be much room for bargaining on infrastructure or reconciliation.
Biden will also visit Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday to continue his public pitch for Democrats’ plan to spend trillions on social and climate programs.