• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Biden to meet with warring Democrats in bid to save economic agenda

·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

President Joe Biden, eager to revive stalled negotiations on his economic agenda, will meet with warring House Democrats this week in a bid to reach a deal.

Biden started the talks on Monday with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat who heads the nearly 100-member House Progressive Caucus. Jayapal is leading the opposition to efforts by Democratic centrists to shrink the size and scope of a massive social welfare spending package drastically, and her support will be essential to passing anything in the House.

"He spoke this morning with Rep. Jayapal at the White House and will have a number of additional conversations by phone with members of both chambers through the course of the afternoon,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

TWO LONGTIME HOUSE DEMOCRATS ANNOUNCE RETIREMENTS AS PARTY SQUIRMS OVER 2022

Biden is struggling to bridge an increasingly bitter intraparty battle over the spending package that has pitted Jayapal and other key liberal Democrats against centrist Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The fight is making it look increasingly unlikely Congress will meet a self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline to advance the package.

The president plans to host centrist and progressive lawmakers in separate meetings on Tuesday, Psaki said Monday.

"We're encouraged by the accelerated pace of the talks and are eager to get this done,” Psaki said.

Biden is amplifying his role after weeks of failed talks and increased acrimony among House and Senate Democrats over how much to spend on Biden’s "Build Back Better" plan, a social welfare package that would create a broad array of new government programs and assistance.

Manchin is digging in on a $1.5 trillion cap on spending, which is far less money than the $3.5 trillion Democrats aimed initially to pass.

Biden and Democratic leaders say the package cost must be lowered to roughly $2 trillion, which has set off a mad scramble among lawmakers to try to save their favorite provisions in the bill.

Manchin is also seeking major changes to the terms of the social welfare spending package, calling for the legislation to include means-testing to ensure only the neediest can access certain benefits, such as the extended child tax credit. Manchin is also insisting that Democrats maintain a work requirement in order for people to gain access to benefits.

Manchin is also opposed to language in the bill eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuels and wants the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which he chairs, to author the language in the bill addressing clean energy standards.

Sinema, of Arizona, has mostly avoided commenting publicly on her opposition to the legislation. She told the Arizona Republic she wants to lower the cost of the legislation and is also opposed to a provision that would allow the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, which critics say would threaten the production of new drugs.

The battle has become increasingly public and angry.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and a socialist, published an op-ed in West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, calling out Manchin for his opposition to the $3.5 trillion package.

“Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation,” Sanders wrote. “Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote yes. We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.”

Manchin, a popular figure in his home state who has served in elected office for nearly four decades, fired back at Sanders.

“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state,” Manchin said in a statement, adding that the nation is struggling with supply chain issues, inflation and thousands of unfilled jobs. “Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”

The social welfare package is half of Biden’s economic agenda and is now linked to the passage of the other half: a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that liberals are now refusing to support until they win passage of the larger spending bill.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Biden has suffered from declining poll numbers in recent weeks following a botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a crisis at the southern border, inflation, and supply chain problems that have left store shelves empty.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Congress, Pramila Jayapal, Joe Manchin, Biden, Infrastructure, government spending

Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: Biden to meet with warring Democrats in bid to save economic agenda

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting