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Democrats say spending deal imminent: 'Next few hours'

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House Democrats say they are "hours" away from agreeing on the framework of a massive social welfare spending deal that has stalled for weeks due to intraparty differences. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday an agreement is likely to come later Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The imminent deal comes after weeks of intense negotiations between House and Senate Democrats, party leaders, and the White House — all eager to reach an accord that will allow both bills to pass in the next few weeks.

The spending bill is informally tied to a bipartisan infrastructure package that liberal Democrats have blocked until the social welfare package is secured.

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“The president has been working hard on this, and the speaker’s been working hard on it, and so there’s a lot of work that has been done,” Hoyer told reporters. “I think it could come together quickly in the next few hours.”

Democrats want a spending framework that would cost less than $2 trillion and be paid for in part with a tax hike impacting billionaires.

The tax hike was modified after centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said she would not back hiking corporate taxes from 21% to 26.5%, and fellow centrist Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia signaled that a plan to allow the IRS to examine bank accounts could also be scrapped.

Democrats have yet to reach an agreement on what to include in the bill, and there is still no written language on the tax hikes.

For example, an initial plan to provide paid family and medical leave has divided Democrats and could be scrapped, or at least shortened from the 12 weeks some lawmakers hoped the bill would provide.

House Democrats met privately on Tuesday morning to talk in more detail about the emerging deal.

“These bills are coming very close to being realized as the policies of the United States of America that the president can sign into law,” said Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, on Tuesday.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters “90%” of the legislation is already written.

“There's not that much more time,” Pelosi told reporters. “We have to have decisions largely today or a little bit into tomorrow, so we can proceed.”

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The House is racing against an Oct. 31 deadline, when a stopgap provision funding highway projects will expire.

Hoyer said the House aimed to take up the infrastructure package, which includes the highway funding, and he anticipates liberal Democrats will support the plan even if it means waiting to pass the social welfare spending deal.

“I think they're going to need a framework,” Hoyer said. “And I think they're going to have a need to have a framework and expression that gives them confidence that in fact, the framework that will be passed by the House will also be passed by the Senate. I think that's what we're going to need, and that's what we're working towards.”

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Tags: News, Congress, House Democrats, government spending, Kyrsten Sinema, Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi

Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: Democrats say spending deal imminent: 'Next few hours'

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