As President Joe Biden argued for his ambitious effort to reform the country’s tax and spending systems and make what he considers sweeping, long-overdue investments, he said that talks on his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan are stuck in Congress.
Biden spoke at White House while Democrats in the House, Senate and Senate work to complete drafts and overcome disagreements between the party’s moderate and centrist factions. Despite the President’s and Congress leaders’ efforts to make progress, Biden said Friday that the road ahead was long and difficult, even with the upcoming deadlines.
Biden stated that “We’re getting to the difficult spot here,” to reporters at the White House. “We are at this point in the stalemate.”
Biden stated that the process will be “up and down”, but that he hoped to be able to deliver what he promised.
The president’s acknowledgement of the differences between Democrats — which are serious over taxes, climate change, and the ultimate price tag — was a contrast to congressional leaders’ more positive tone in recent days. Top Democrats seem to be trying to build momentum as the House votes near.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predicted Friday that both pillars in Biden’s domestic agenda would be passed. The first is an evolving $3.5 trillion package of climate and social safety programs. The other is a $1 trillion measure to finance highway, internet, and other infrastructure projects. Both have passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
She told reporters, “We’re going pass both bills.”
She did not explain how she and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), would solve the distrust and disagreements between their respective moderate and progressive wings, which has stalled both bills. There was still confusion over the voting schedule, which is crucial.
Pelosi made a promise to House moderates last month, that the chamber would consider the infrastructure bill by Monday. This is the top priority of centrists.
Progressives threaten to vote to stop infrastructure legislation from being passed until their preferred version, the $3.5 trillion Social and Environment Bill — returns to the House. Progressives believe that delaying the public work bill would force moderates to support the larger measure.
Pelosi said Friday that she was bringing up the bill and would vote on the timing of the infrastructure bill. Although she stated that debate would start Monday, her comments suggested that the final passage of the public works legislation might slip.
Pelosi also stated to reporters that her chamber would be considering the $3.5 trillion package next Wednesday. It was unclear how House-Senate negotiators would resolve their differences on that bill so quickly.
According to the president, his private meetings this week with more than two dozen Democratic lawmakers in an effort to accelerate progress and close the deal were successful. He described the tone as collegial with no hollering and described the atmosphere as one of collaboration.
However, lawmakers raised objections to the plan’s scope and funding source, which was to be paid by higher taxes on the wealthy. Biden stated that he tried to focus them on their priorities — what they can live with and what they don’t.
Biden stated, “It’s all about paying your fair part, for the lord’s benefit.” “Clearly, there is enough money, from a variety of options, for what it is.”
Biden made a harsh reality check and suggested that talks could drag on to the end. He said, “It’s just gonna take some time.”
Lawmakers are working tirelessly and Biden is under pressure to complete the deal. Pelosi met Friday with her leadership team at the Capitol, and the House Budget Committee scheduled a rare Saturday session for the strict procedural step to send the $3.5 trillion bill as it was drafted by 13 other House panels to the full chamber.
It is likely that the House will change this measure before it votes.
Biden’s vision of his campaign promise “Build Back Better” is to expand health, education, and federal programs with more services for all Americans. He also proposes investing heavily in climate change efforts. This would be funded largely through raising tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals who earn more than $400,000 per year. For married couples, it would cost $450,000.
However, centrist Democrats consider the price too high while progressive lawmakers hesitate to compromise after having already dropped more ambitious ideas.