WASHINGTON — Democrats were back on Friday, determined to salvage a scaled-back version of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion government overhaul and salvage the related public works bill after a long night of frantic talks. which resulted in no deal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was gathering party lawmakers for a private morning session to assess the way forward. She vowed the Allies would “vote today” on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is popular but mired in widespread debate. But the situation was highly precarious, and no schedule was set.
Holdout Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia sank hopes of a compromise late Thursday, despite hours of shuttle diplomacy with White House aides on Capitol Hill, when he voiced his demands for a smaller overall package of about $1.5 trillion. refused to move. It does little for progressive lawmakers who are refusing to vote on a public works measure without a commitment to Biden’s broader framework on the big bill.
A deal in the $2 trillion range was negotiated. Because of the ongoing negotiations, Biden opted to stay in Washington on Friday instead of traveling to his Delaware home, as he often does on weekends. According to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center, his public approval ratings have plummeted.
“We understand that we have to get everyone on board to be able to close this deal,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., leader of the Congress Progressive Caucus. “We’re looking forward to it.”
The president and his party are facing a potentially embarrassing setback – and perhaps a politically disastrous collapse of the entire enterprise – if they cannot resolve the impasse.
At immediate risk was the promised vote on the first piece of Biden’s proposal, the slimmer $1 trillion public works bill, a roads and bridges package.
Biden’s big proposal is a years-long collection of Democratic priorities, a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax and spending policies that would essentially raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and divert that money back to government health care, education and more. . programs, touching the lives of countless Americans.
Biden says the final price tag is zero, because tax revenues will cover the cost of the expense — the high rate on businesses earning more than $5 million per year, and individuals earning more than $400,000 per year, or couples. for $450,000.
The attention of White House and Democratic leaders is focused on Manchin and, to a lesser extent, Sen. Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, two centrist Democrats who helped the public works bill get Senate passage, but worry Biden’s overall bill is too large. . Two senators have angered allies by not making specific counter-proposals public.
Manchin convened a press conference outside the Capitol on Thursday, insisting he was clear from the start.
“I’m ready to sit down and work on $1.5,” Munchkin told reporters, as protesters demanded a bigger package and chanted Biden’s priorities behind them.
After hours of talks that lasted near midnight on Thursday, he said he could not settle yet. “I don’t see a deal tonight. I really don’t,” Munchkin told reporters as he left the Capitol.
Pelosi called it a “day of progress” in a letter to colleagues, but offered some other words on the road ahead.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement saying: “There has been a lot of progress this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever before. But we are not there yet, and therefore, we have to get the job done.” Will need some extra time, starting tomorrow morning first thing.”
The political stakes could hardly be higher. Biden and his party are reaching for a colossal legislative achievement — promising a vast rewrite of the nation’s tax and spending plans — with a slim majority in Congress.
“As you all know, we are fighting for transformative legislation; These discussions go on month after month,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, chairman of the budget committee and a prominent progressive lawmaker. “This is not a baseball game. This is the most important law in 70 years.”
With Republican opposition in lockstep to the president’s big plan, ridiculing it as a slide for socialist-style spending, Biden is reaching for a deal with members of his own party for a signature legislative feat. .
The Public Works bill is a piece of that broader Biden vision, a $1 trillion investment in regular transportation, broadband, water systems and other projects strengthened with additional funding. It garnered bipartisan support in the Senate but is now mired in widespread debate.
It is not only Manchin’s demand to reduce the overall size, but the terms he seeks on the new spending, that will anger his more liberal allies as he works to ensure that aid is available only to low-income people. For the sake of the wider interests of Americans. Tensions escalated late Wednesday when Munchkin sent out a furious statement, calling the widespread spending “fiscal insanity.”
Sinema was similarly working to brush off criticism and her office said it was not making the claim that she was “false” – although she has not publicly disclosed her views on what size package she will be getting. and has declined to answer questions about her condition.
Democrats’ campaign promises were on the line, progressive lawmakers were outraged, sparks were flying at holdout senators.
Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Min., another Progressive leader, pointedly pointed his criticism at Manchin’s comments.
“Trying to kill the agenda of your party is madness. Not trying to make sure we all worked so hard to elect the president, his agenda is pass, madness,” she said.
Centrists warned of scrapping Thursday’s vote, but a centrist leader, Representative Josh Gottheimer, D.N.J. Excited, he tweeted that he expected the vote on Friday.
Associated Press writer Brian Slodisko contributed to this report.