Joe Biden expected to press House Democrats in-person to shore up domestic agenda
President Biden will travel to Capitol Hill Thursday to urge House Democrats to reach a deal on his top domestic priorities, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure deal and a larger social welfare package.
Mr. Biden will address the House Democratic Conference before departing for an extended trip overseas. The president will likely stress the importance of Democratic unity for getting his legislation through the final hurdles.
“Universal preschool. Climate investments. “Lower health care costs,” wrote Mr. Biden on social media. They are all within our reach. Let’s get these bills to the finish .”
The visit follows a day of intense negotiations between Democrats about the White House’s almost $2 trillion spending bill. Although progress has been made by lawmakers on the bill, there are still significant differences over its content and funding.
Far left lawmakers have pledged to resist the bill unless it included long-sought liberal priorities like a federal guarantee that every worker will receive four weeks of paid vacation. Moderate Democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin III from West Virginia believe the price tag should not exceed $1.5 trillion.
Since Democrats are planning to push the package through Congress along party lines using budget reconciliation, a process allowing spending measures to pass the 50-50 Senate by a simple majority, Mr. Biden cannot afford any disunity.
In his remarks on Thursday Mr. Biden will appeal directly to his party’s far-left faction including the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The president will not only push for compromise on the reconciliation package but he will also press for timely voting on the infrastructure deal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a California Democrat and aims to have a vote on the bill before the end of this week. Mrs. Pelosi hopes to pass it before federal funding for roads, highways and other infrastructure runs out at the close of this month.
The infrastructure bill passed the Senate in July but is still sitting idle in Congress.
The 98-member CPC has threatened to withhold its support until moderate Democrats agree to a reconciliation framework. While a reconciliation package doesn’t have to pass the Senate before it can be considered for the House, they insist that an agreement must be reached before any votes are taken in the House.
The problem is that liberals refuse to accept any text other than the full reconciliation agreement text, which could take several weeks to create. Mrs. Pelosi sought to broker a deal where liberals would vote for the infrastructure bill if there was agreement on a broad reconciliation framework.
” We’ve had frameworks over the past six months and we haven’t had a vote so I don’t believe a framework is sufficient,” stated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, New York Democrat. “What we need are text .”
Progressives also demand that the House pass the bill for infrastructure along with the reconciliation package.
“I don’t care which one [comes first], if they’re on the same date and you want to vote [infrastructure bill] the first and reconciliation bill three hours later,” stated Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Democrat who chairs the CPC. “We must get both bills out. We need both bills .”