Biden vows ‘we’ll get there’ as Democrats try to overcome divisions to pass key agenda items

“We’re going to get there,” Biden told reporters. Pressed on a timeline, the president said, “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days, or six weeks – we’ll do it.”

Biden was on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to meet with members of the House Democratic Caucus, as Democratic leaders and White House officials work to strike a deal on the economic framework that they believe can unlock enough voice for infrastructure. Two sources close to the ongoing talks told CNN that an agreement on the so-called economic package framework is not completed or imminent at the moment.

The president’s high-stakes visit to the Hill comes as some Democrats have called on Biden to take a more active role in the process.

Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee said on Friday, “I think the president should be involved” and said “very few of us have seen the president in the nine months that he’s been president. And I think so. he should come to a caucus “.

It might be a quieter caucus meeting than others. Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, told CNN that members have decided as a caucus to put their cellphones in lockers. This is expected to reduce leakage from the meeting.

Whether Biden’s involvement can change the dynamic or lead to any breakthrough remains to be seen. Divisions within the party were fully visible Thursday night when Democratic House leaders voted for the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill as progressives revolted against the prospect of a vote and vowed to sink the bill. Progressives do not want to move forward with the bipartisan bill without a vote on the economic package, which could cost up to $ 3.5 trillion.

On Friday, however, the way forward was still not clear, especially as progressives continue to say they need a Senate vote on the $ 3.5 trillion package to gain their support for the government. bipartisan infrastructure bill – and some Democrats are starting to openly express their frustration with the delay.

Moderates are angered that there has yet to be a vote on the bipartisan bill after Democratic leaders pledged one would take place.

Centrist Democratic Representative Scott Peters of California expressed that sentiment, saying, “I feel frustrated. I want to vote on this package today.” Reflecting the uncertainty on the Hill as to what will happen next, he said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Some progressives, meanwhile, have expressed frustration that they did not know West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin‘s negotiating position sooner, so they could have started the negotiating process earlier. Manchin made it clear on Thursday that $ 1.5 trillion was the price he was prepared to accept for his party’s plan to expand the social safety net, placing it at $ 2 trillion from the lowest number that progressive democrats said they would accept.

Other Democrats, however, have been more patient and have suggested it is good that talks are underway as they are expressing optimism that a deal will be reached.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jefferies said on Friday: “The speaker indicated that we will be voting today. I expect to vote today and I expect the draft law be passed today.… I hope we ‘I will get some clarification within an hour or so from the Senate as to what they consider possible, so that we can decide on this. which is acceptable. ”

Meanwhile, Democrats are preparing a “plan B” for the highways trust fund, which expired at midnight.

Representative Mark Takano of California confirmed that House of Transportation Speaker Peter DeFazio had presented a plan to make a draft bill and said he “presumes” that a vote will take place today.

Leaving the House Democratic caucus meeting this morning, DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, did not confirm to reporters whether he was announcing a 30-day extension to highway funding, but asked if Republicans could boarding with an extension, he replied, “I think if that was a solution, then they would.”

Any kind of interim bill would require the cooperation of both chambers to be resolved quickly.

Some senators have already left town, including moderate Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Sinema has left Washington and is in Phoenix, Arizona, for a medical appointment, according to a statement from his office. The press release specifies, however, that it is continuing negotiations at a distance.

This story and title was updated on Friday with additional developments.

CNN’s DJ Judd, Morgan Rimmer, Kristin Wilson and Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.

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