President Joe Biden had breakfast with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Friday as he is pressing for a vote on his multi-trillion infrastructure and social spending plans next week before he leaves for Europe.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who is in his home state of New York zoomed into the meeting, according to reports.
‘We’ll see,’ Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol after the sitdown, when asked if there would be a vote next week.
‘We had a very positive meeting this morning. I’m very optimistic. This is, it’s exciting, because whatever it is, it’s going to be bigger than anything we’ve ever done for the American people,’ she added.
The breaking of the bread comes as Democrats remain divided on key issues like family leave and combatting climate change – while still arguing over how to pay for all of it.
Biden has told Democrats he wants a legislative victory ahead of the Group of 20 leaders summit in Rome and the United Nations climate summit in Scotland next week, according to Bloomberg News, so he can show his fellow world leaders that America can still deliver.
Biden told a CNN town hall Thursday night he thinks he’ll get a deal before he leaves for Europe but he also conceded there are ‘four or five issues’ still being worked out among warring moderate and liberal Democrats.
‘We are at this point in the conversation and in the debate where we are getting into the nitty gritty details, and the president is deeply engaged in those discussions,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday of the talks.
‘The president has rolled up his sleeves and he is deep in the details of spreadsheets and numbers and what the potential impact can be to help the American people, and he was candid about where the negotiations stood,’ she added.
‘We’re getting closer.’
With the clock ticking to the president’s deadline, Democrats remain internally divided on key issues proving tricky for leadership to negotiate: paid leave, Medicare expansion, prescription drug pricing and climate.
Democrats are also scrambling to come up with a way to pay for their massive federal spending project after moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema said she wouldn’t support raising corporate tax and income rates.
Joe Biden wants the House to vote on his multi-trillion infrastructure and social spending plans next week before he leaves for Europe
Biden had breakfast with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Friday morning as he pushes to finalize a deal on his social spending program
Biden conceded Thursday night he doesn’t have the votes to raise taxes. In the evenly divided 50-50 Senate, he needs every Democrat on board.
‘I don’t think we’re going to be able to get the vote,’ he said when asked about it at a CNN town hall. ‘Look, when you’re in the United States Senate and you’re president of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, everyone is the president.’
Sinema has conceded to alternatives, according to reports, including raising tax revenue from companies and the wealthy. The new pay-for method could include increased funding for the IRS to collect taxes owed by corporations and high earners, and increased taxes on the income that multinational companies operating in the US earn overseas. Democrats argue that could raise at least $1 trillion over a decade.
The Arizona Democrat also opposes a drug price negotiation measure.
Meanwhile fellow moderate Senator Joe Manchin is opposed to Biden’s inclusion of the Clean Energy Performance Plan, which does not go over well in his coal-producing home state of West Virginia.
That has the White House looking at alternatives, including using executive action.
‘We have had other ways of doing’ reduced emissions, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre Thursday afternoon. ‘What we’re saying is we don’t need Congress. We can do it without Congress.’
Meanwhile, Biden acknowledged that expanding Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing – a provision being pushed by liberals – was ‘a reach’ because of the two senators.
Instead Biden said they were looking to provide an $800 voucher for dental work. He indicated a hearing benefit was a possibility but noted vision coverage remains an issue because of its price tag.
And Biden also conceded Thursday night that two of his biggest priorities were being cut: paid family leave was parred down to four weeks from 12 while free community college was axed. Instead, the president said he was looking at expanding Pell grants.
Democrats are negotiating over taxes to pay for Biden’s social agenda after moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema said she wouldn’t support raising corporate tax and income rates
Moderate Senator Joe Manchin is opposed to Biden’s inclusion of the Clean Energy Performance Plan in the package
Biden gave Democrats an end of the week deadline to come to consensus on a topline number for his social program. But to break the stalemate between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party, the $3.5 trillion plan will be cut nearly in half.
That final figure is looking to be between $1.75 trillion and $2 trillion.
Biden has been holding metings and phone calls all week with the key players in the drama – moderates, liberals, Manchin, Sinema, and leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi – as he works to get a deal on the two bills that make up his Congressional agenda: a bipartisan infrastructure plan already passed by the Senate, and a larger budget package of social programs that focuses on education, health, childcare and climate change.
‘I do think I’ll get a deal,’ he said.