Biden visits Michigan to rally up support for multi-trillion dollar infrastructure agenda
US President Joe Biden will travel to Howell, Michigan today to rally support for a pair of multi-trillion-dollar bills that represent the heart of his legislative agenda
Mr Biden visited the Capitol on Friday to try to end a fight between moderates and progressives in his Democratic Party over the bills that would revamp infrastructure, as well as boost the social safety net and fight climate change.
Democrats face the hard work of paring back the White House’s infrastructure and social agenda in the week ahead, but have yet to agree on a target size for their multi-trillion dollar spending bill.
The party said their sweeping bill, intended to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change, will need to be trimmed from a $3.5trn goal to $2trn, following a visit by the president to Capitol Hill.
But they have come no closer to agreement on that figure over the weekend. Progressive Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, told ABC News on Sunday that $3.5trn “should be a minimum. But I accept there is going to have to be give and take”.
Moderate Democrat Joe Manchin said his top line for the package is $1.5trn.
Addressing Mr Manchin’s $1.5trn limit, the influential chair of the 95-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, told CNN: “That’s not going to happen. Because that’s too small to get our priorities in. So, it’s going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 (trillion dollars).”
Mr Biden, who has said he will “work like hell” to get the legislative package passed, travels to Michigan today to rally support for it, the White House said on Sunday.
Some Democrats will inevitably be disappointed, a senior White House official said.
“People will not get everything they want, that is the art of legislating, but the goal here is to get both bills, and we’re going to fight until we get both bills,” Cedric Richmond, director of the White House office of public engagement, said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
After earlier agreeing at moderates’ urging to hold a House vote last week on a $1trn infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in an August bipartisan vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cancelled the vote on Friday at the urging of progressives who want both bills to move in unison.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday the goal is to get both the infrastructure and social spending bills done in the next month. Congress also needs to act in the next month to save the federal government from a catastrophic debt default.
Republicans mocked the Democrats’ decision to cancel the infrastructure vote last week. “You saw last week an epic collapse of president Biden’s agenda, but they’re not going to stop there,” House Republican whip Steve Scalise told Fox News.
Tensions remain high among Democrats. Krysten Sinema on Saturday slammed party leadership for delaying the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package, saying the decision was “inexcusable” and eroded trust. That vote should be held “well before” October 31, Ms Pelosi said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said one way to trim the spending plan would be to fund some programmess for a shorter time period than originally envisaged.