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Senior Democrats say they are willing to cut the cost of $ 3.5 tons of spending measures in Joe Biden’s signing package to boost America’s social safety net, after days of infighting threatening the president’s economic agenda has.
Party leaders gave members another month to reach an agreement on the package, which is progressively demanding that it be approved at the same time as a separate $ 1.2 tonne infrastructure bill. Meanwhile, whips are also trying to reach an agreement between the parties to cancel the US debt ceiling before a potentially catastrophic default later this month.
Two of the most prominent progressives in Congress – Pramila Jayapal, the representative of Seattle, and Bernie Sanders, the senator of Vermont – said they want an agreement with their more conservative colleagues.
Jayapal told CNN: ‘It’s going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 5 [trillion dollars] and 3.5, and I think the White House is currently working on that. Because remember, we want to provide child care, paid leave and climate change and housing. ”
Joe Manchin, one of the two Democratic senators who has a much smaller social spending and a climate bill, said he does not want the package of more than $ 1.5 tons. Sanders told NBC on Sunday that it was “a good start”, adding: “It’s a big problem, and it’s not going to happen overnight. ‘
However, he told ABC News that a bill costing $ 2 a ton – a figure Biden allegedly drifted to the Democrats during a rare trip to Capitol Hill on Friday – would not be ‘enough’.
Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip in the Senate, said the party’s leaders were not married to the $ 3.5 ton. “I just want to make sure we get the right result,” he told CNN. “Not the largest number, but the most effective number to help families in this economy move forward responsibly.”
Progressives said they did not want to pass the dual measure without also voting for the larger spending package. And they got their way on Friday, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided not to put the Infrastructure Bill to the vote while there was still disagreement about the other package.
This decision sparked a furious reaction from moderate Democrats over the weekend. Kyrsten Sinema, the other Democratic senator who refuses to support the Social Security bill, calls it ‘inexcusable and deeply disappointing’.
Biden based his reputation on being able to make deals on Capitol Hill, and is now being tested not only on his large economic bills, but also on a separate measure to raise the debt ceiling.
Prices of US Treasuries dropped Friday because investors were worried about whether a divided congress would raise the ceiling in time to avoid a historic default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the Treasury Department would no longer be able to repay US debt if no agreement was reached by October 18.
Democrats themselves can vote to raise the debt ceiling, but want Republicans to support the decision to prevent it from becoming a biased issue. Durbin on Sunday accused Republican leader Senate Mitch McConnell of “playing games with a loaded weapon” by threatening to use the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling.
Biden acknowledged over the weekend that the congressional process could be frustrating, saying: ‘Everyone is frustrated. It’s part of the government – to be frustrated. ”
The president will turn his attention away from Washington this week and travel across the country to bolster public support for his economic agenda.
And with his entire economic project at stake, he continued to insist over the weekend that he would be able to find another agreement on all three measures – the $ 3.5 tonne construction bill, the infrastructure bill and the debt ceiling.
“I believe I can do it,” he said Saturday. “I believe that if the American people know what is in it, we can do it.”