Wednesday, October 20, 2021

“Everybody’s Disappointed,” Says Biden As His Agenda Stalls

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden acknowledged disappointment Saturday as Democrats for failing to produce a deal to salvage a scaled-back version of his $3.5 trillion government-overhaul plan and bail out a related public works bill. The latter pressed for salvaging a related public works bill.

“Everyone is disappointed, it’s part of being in government, being disappointed,” Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for a weekend stay at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He pledged to “act like hell” to get two pillars of his domestic agenda passed into law, but refrained from setting a new deadline.

The president flew to Capitol Hill on Friday for a private meeting with House Democrats, partly a morale booster for a disgruntled party of lawmakers. According to lawmakers in the room, they discussed a $1.9 trillion to $2 trillion-plus price tag for a larger package that would expand the country’s social safety net.

The White House and its allies in Congress are ready for long talks. Biden said he would soon travel around the country to promote the law and acknowledged concerns that talk in Washington had focused on new spending in the bill and trillions in taxes.

He pledged to do more to educate the public about the plan’s new and expanded programs, which he argued had the support of the vast majority of voters.

“I’m going to try to sell what I think the American people will buy,” Biden said on Saturday. “I believe we’ll get it done when the American people know what’s in it,” he said.

The president said he believed the law would be signed next year with “plenty of time for people to change the tax code.”

This is a crucial time for Biden and the party. His approval rating has plummeted and Democrats are restless, eager to fulfill his signature campaign promise of rebuilding the country. His ideas go beyond road and bridge infrastructure, dental, vision and hearing care for senior citizens, free preschool, major efforts to combat climate change and other investments that will touch countless American lives.

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Holdout Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia dashed hopes of a swift settlement on a framework when he refused to budge late Thursday on his demands for a smaller overall package, about $1.5 trillion.

Without a comprehensive deal, a vote on the Allied Public Works bill stalled as progressives refused to commit until senators reached an agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told aides that “more time is needed” as they shape the broader package.

The House on Friday night passed a 30-day measure to keep transportation programs running during the impasse, essentially setting a new deadline for talks, October 31. The Senate approved it without debate during a brief session on Saturday, to prevent further recess. More than 3,500 federal transportation workers, a byproduct of the political deadlock.

With Republicans opposing Biden’s broad vision, the president and Democrats are reaching for a colossal legislative achievement on their own—all to be paid for by rewriting the federal balance sheet with tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, who earn over $400,000 per year.

Nation World News Desk
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