Pelosi announces hearing on unfinished spending bill in bid to kick-start stalled Biden agenda

Pelosi announces hearing on unfinished spending bill in bid to kick-start stalled Biden agenda
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow House Democrats they’ll begin consideration of a massive social welfare package tomorrow, even as President Joe Biden and key Senate Democrats negotiate significant remaining differences in the legislation.

Pelosi wrote to Democrats Wednesday that the House Rules Committee will hold a hearing on Biden’s "Build Back Better" plan, a social welfare package that would provide new government programs and subsidies, including free day care and monthly payments for families.

The hearing would be the first step in advancing the legislation through the House, which some Democrats are demanding in exchange for voting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill by the end of the month.

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“As we have insisted, we are close to agreement on the priorities and the topline of the legislation, which can and must pass the House and Senate,” wrote Pelosi, a California Democrat. “At the same time, we are facing a crucial deadline for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass. To do so, we must have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act.”

Democrats are closing in on a deal with a price tag of roughly $1.75 trillion, far lower than the $3.5 trillion the party hoped to spend.

Party lawmakers continue to negotiate important details of the legislation, such as whether or how to include a provision providing paid family and medical leave and expanded Medicare benefits.

Democrats are also squabbling over how to pay for the bill.

Key Democratic centrist Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have forced a smaller cost and price tag for the bill, and Manchin does not back the latest attempt to offset the legislation with a special tax on billionaires.

Nonetheless, Manchin and Democratic leaders said a framework is within reach this week, and there’s enough known about the legislation for Pelosi to call for a hearing.

“I have asked the Rules Committee to hold a hearing tomorrow, Oct. 28, to advance this spectacular agenda For The People,” she wrote.

Pelosi told fellow lawmakers that Democrats “are still fighting for a paid family and medical leave provision,” and she praised the extension of the child tax credit and the inclusion of free preschool and money for the care of the elderly and the disabled.

In the Senate, Democrats scrambled to close in on a deal despite pushback from Manchin on the billionaire tax plan.

“It’s a question of insisting that we have a consistent tax program which demands that those people on top, who are not paying their fair share of taxes, do it,” Sanders told reporters. “And there are a number of options.”

Pelosi, meanwhile, is hoping to provide as much of a framework as is needed to cajole progressives who make up the bulk of her caucus to vote in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The Senate passed the $1.2 trillion bill over the summer, and Biden is eager to sign it and declare a significant legislative victory.

The measure is popular, according to polls.

It would provide new funding for roads, bridges, water projects, and broadband expansion, as well as new electric vehicle charging stations.

Democrats imposed an end-of-month deadline to pass the measure, which is when a temporary highway funding authorization bill expires.

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Many Democrats are demanding that the House pass both bills consecutively, but the social welfare package likely cannot be completed by the end of the week.

Pelosi told reporters she believes a framework can provide sufficient assurances to Democrats that the Build Back Better measure will eventually win passage.

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Tags: News, Congress, government spending, Nancy Pelosi, Biden, Joe Manchin

Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: Pelosi announces hearing on unfinished spending bill in bid to kick-start stalled Biden agenda

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