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Joe Biden met the House Democrats on Capitol Hill on Friday in an effort to push members of his own party to an agreement that would save his crucial economic agenda.
“He wants to speak directly to members, answer their questions and explain why we should all work together to give the American people more breathing space,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. “Compromise is needed, it is inevitable.”
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, postponed Late Thursday night in the lower chamber of Congress, after several days of negotiations with progressive and moderate members of the president’s party.
White House officials, including Ron Klain, the chief of staff, Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, and Susan Rice, the domestic policy adviser, were also closely involved in the talks.
Biden took part in the behind-the-scenes negotiations this week, and the trip to Capitol Hill highlights a shift in tactics by the president to more public intervention. Psaki said Biden would also travel outside Washington next week to discuss his plans.
Lawmakers from Biden’s party are divided over the two pillars of the president’s far-reaching legislative agenda: a $ 1.2 ton dual infrastructure bill and a $ 3.5 ton spending package to improve America’s social safety net, which the Republicans are opposed and both chambers of Congress must endure only with democratic votes.
Biden has indicated his presidency for the signing of both measures. Democrats in Washington are already afraid that a failure to pass any legislation could hurt the president’s party in a gubernatorial race in Virginia next month, as well as next year’s midterm elections, when control of both chambers of Congress is at stake. is.
‘If we can do something here, we’ll make historical legislation passed [in] Congress. “This is going to have a huge impact on the American people, and that’s one of the reasons why the president wanted to go there today,” Psaki said.
Progressive Democrats in the House said they would not subscribe to the infrastructure bill – which would invest federal funds largely in roads, bridges and tunnels, as well as broadband – until they received assurances that the larger bill would not be in the Senate.
But the assurance seems far away Thursday night, given the objections of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, two of the most conservative Democratic senators. Both possess extreme power in an upper chamber of Congress divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and Vice President Kamala Harris could cast a tie.
Manchin, who represents West Virginia, revealed on Thursday that he had told Democratic leaders that he did not want to support a budget bill with a price of more than $ 1.5 tons, while a Cinema spokesman said that the Arizona senator also objects to the cost of the $ 3.5 ton bill.
The White House assistants met with Manchin and Cinema on Thursday for talks in the Capitol. But Cinema’s office said Friday that the senator had returned to Phoenix, adding that she was still involved in “remote” negotiations with the White House.
Pelosi continued to set an optimistic tone on Friday, insisting that a vote on infrastructure be imminent. The speaker, who is widely respected in Washington for her ability to negotiate and build consensus in her party, has repeatedly said she will not vote until she is confident she can win.
Hakeem Jeffries, a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, told reporters on Friday that he expects the vote to take place today – and that the bill will pass.
But others remain skeptical. Pramila Jayapal, the Democratic congresswoman who chairs the progressive caucus of the House, told reporters on Friday morning that her position was unchanged: she would not support the infrastructure package until a budget bill was approved.
The divisions between the internal parties over Biden’s legislative agenda come as the Democratic Party also faces an impending crisis over the debt ceiling. Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the Senate remain caught up in lifting the loan limit, with Republicans refusing to sign up to raise the debt ceiling and Democrats arguing that using a complex legislative maneuver called reconciliation would be unilaterally risky .
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the government would jeopardize default on October 18 if the loan limit is not lifted. Investors characters shown of nervousness about a possible default on Friday for the first time, and dumping of short-term treasury bills expiring in the coming weeks.