President Joe Biden vowed to get his broader domestic agenda on the line Friday as he toured the US Congress to push Democrats for a second day to negotiate twin make-or-break spending bills Could define his legacy – or the magic of political failure.
“I’m telling you, we’re going to get it done,” he told reporters after a meeting with House Democrats, who are deeply divided over the spending spree, which Biden says is fueling America’s battered middle class. will restore.
“It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter if it’s in six minutes, six days or six weeks, we’re gonna get it done.”
The unusual presidential visit follows weeks of visits by party leaders in the other direction of the White House as Biden tries to get two ambitious spending plans passed into law.
One will spend $1.2 trillion repairing infrastructure and the other will allocate even more to education, child care and promoting clean energy.
“These are his proposals. These are his bold ideas,” Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“It is his plan that he has outlined: not only to rebuild our roads, our railways and bridges, and to get millions of people back to work, but also to care for children, care for the elderly, (pre-school programs) to be more cost-effective, to address the climate crisis. And he wants to take the matter directly to the members.”
Biden’s political legacy is at stake and so the Democrats are likely to take control of Congress in the midterm elections next year.
However, on Thursday, a game of chicken between moderate Democrats and more left-wing members over bills ended in a standoff.
His razor-thin majority in Congress means that some defectors can prevent the vote from coming to fruition.
Nancy Pelosi, leader of the fractious House Democrats, on Thursday delayed a vote on infrastructure as congressional leaders mediate disputes between the party’s centrist and left-wing groups.
– trust issue –
The standoff on the Democratic side is rooted in political differences over how much the government should spend, but also over a lack of trust between competing factions.
On one hand, liberal senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Cinema – popularly dubbed the pairing “Manchinema” – refuse to back the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag for the social spending package.
However, they support something more modest, with ManChain proposing $1.5 trillion. They have already voted in favor of a separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
In the House, a younger, furious generation of more left-wing representatives insists on keeping the $3.5 trillion number, or at least something close, for social spending.
And to take advantage of the talks, they are refusing to back the popular infrastructure bill, saying it can only come if they know they have access to a social spending deal from the Democratic-controlled Senate. “Yes” is.
Congress Progressive Caucus chairperson Pramila Jayapal told reporters, “If there is anything else that votes are lacking, someone can offer me who gives me the same assurance, I want to hear that.” Be willing to compromise.
“But right now I’m saying we need votes.”
Psaki said the administration’s access to congressional Democrats and their staff includes at least 300 phone calls or meetings since Sept.
Biden has repeatedly touted his dealmaking chops during the 2020 campaign – established during his four decades as a senator – but he has made the trip to Capitol Hill only rarely as president.
His personal visit was a welcome development to rank-and-file Democrats who were hoping he would be more deeply involved.
Pelosi will have to decide on Friday whether to try again for a vote on the infrastructure bill, despite the risk that progressives will kill it.
Alternatively, she could have put everything on ice to take the time to craft an overall agreement on the two bills.
However, there is no hard timeline for action on either bill, and Biden won’t see the lack of progress as a defeat until it starts to drag on in the election year.
With the government threatening to postpone the shutdown until December, the next immediate deadline is to raise the national debt limit before the October 18 default date – and there are still no plans on how to accomplish that.
Usually this is not a complicated issue. This year, however, Republicans are refusing to join Democrats in giving authority, while Democrats argue they should not shoulder the responsibility alone.
The impasse leaves the United States close to the cliff edge of a default on its $28 trillion debt, with a lack of progress expected to raise pulses in financial markets soon.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)