WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (Reuters) – Democrats will be disappointed as the party is forced to cut back on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social agenda amid opposition from Republicans and some moderate members of his party, said Sunday a senior advisor to the White House.
“People will be disappointed. People will not have everything they want, it’s the art of legislating, but the point here is to have both bills, and we will fight until what we have the two bills, “Cedric Richmond, director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, said on NBC’s” Meet the Press “.
Richmond, a former member of the House of Representatives, spoke two days after Biden’s visit to the Capitol on Friday in an attempt to end a fight between moderates and progressives within his Democratic Party that threatened both plans for law which form the core of its national program. – an infrastructure bill and a social spending bill of several billion dollars.
An ambitious bill to strengthen the social safety net and tackle climate change will need to be cut by a target of $ 3.5 trillion, perhaps to come close to $ 2 trillion, the researchers said. Democrats after Biden’s visit. Moderate Democrats, especially Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, refused to back the majority. Manchin has said he could agree to a bill closer to $ 1.5 trillion, while Sinema has not publicly committed on a number.
After agreeing earlier on urging moderates to hold a House vote last week on a $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate during In a bipartisan vote in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi overturned the vote at the behest of progressives who want the two bills to move forward in unison. .
Biden, who has said he will “work like hell” to pass the legislative package, will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to rally his support, the White House said on Sunday. Michigan has a delegation to Congress that in some ways represents the broad spectrum of the Democratic Party, from moderate Rep. Elissa Slotkin to Progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
Howell, Michigan, where the president will be visiting, is in the Slotkin district.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday the goal was to complete the infrastructure and social spending bills within the next month. Congress must also act next month to prevent the federal government from a catastrophic default.
The influential chair of the 95-member Progressive Congressional Caucus, Representative Pramila Jayapal, said on Sunday that an acceptable range for the social spending bill would be between $ 1.5 trillion and $ 3.5 trillion.
Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said his revenue for the package was $ 1.5 trillion, but Jayapal told CNN: “It won’t happen. Because it’s too small to fit our priorities. . So it’s going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 (trillion dollars). “
Progressive Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, told ABC News on Sunday that $ 3.5 trillion “should be a minimum. But I accept it’s going to be a give and take.”
Republicans adamantly oppose the social spending bill and scoffed at Democrats’ decision to overturn the infrastructure vote last week. “You saw an epic collapse of President Biden’s agenda last week, but they’re not going to stop there,” Republican House Whip Steve Scalise told Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Jayapal and another leading progressive Democrat, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said on Sunday that one way to cut the social spending plan would be to fund some programs for a shorter period than initially envisioned.
But they both also suggested that the proposals to tackle climate change were non-negotiable. “We can’t afford to increase carbon emissions or just fossil fuel emissions right now. It’s just science, it’s not something we can cut down the line,” Ocasio said. -Cort on CBS “Face the Nation”.
Tensions remain high between Democrats. Sinema slammed the party leadership on Saturday for delaying the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package, saying the move was “inexcusable” and had eroded confidence. The vote is expected to take place “well before” Oct. 31, Pelosi said on Saturday.
Democrats have limited time to reach agreement on the larger bill as they face several other deadlines in the coming weeks.
The most critical comes first. The Treasury Department has warned it won’t be able to pay its bills around Oct. 18 unless Congress acts to increase or suspend the $ 28.4 trillion debt limit. This could trigger a historic default that would weigh heavily on the United States and global economies.
Republicans have so far refused to vote to resolve the crisis, saying Democrats should use a parliamentary maneuver called “budget reconciliation” to do so. Schumer refused, calling the debt ceiling a bipartisan responsibility and noting that about $ 5,000 billion in the country’s debt was the result of actions taken during the administration of Republican Donald Trump.
Reporting by Susan Cornwell; additional reporting by Phil Stewart and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Scott Malone and Diane Craft
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