Biden urges Democrats to adopt economic platform
WASHINGTON – President Biden and his aides went out of their way on Wednesday to save Mr. Biden’s economic agenda in Congress, even attempting to forge the beginnings of a compromise between moderates and progressives on a pair of bills that would spend trillions to rebuild infrastructure, expand access to education, tackle climate change and more.
Mr Biden canceled a planned trip to Chicago, where he planned to promote Covid-19 vaccinations, in order to continue speaking with lawmakers during a critical week of delays in the House. A decisive vote in the Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist from Arizona, was due to visit the White House on Wednesday morning, a person familiar with the meeting said.
Ms Sinema was one of the Democratic champions of a bipartisan bill, negotiated by Mr Biden, to spend more than $ 1 trillion over the next few years on physical infrastructure such as water pipes, roads, bridges, electric vehicle charging stations and high-speed Internet access. This bill was passed in the Senate this summer. It is put to a vote this week in the House. But Progressive Democrats have threatened to block it unless it is associated with a larger bill that contains much of the rest of Mr. Biden’s national curriculum, such as universal kindergarten and free community college, a multitude of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tax breaks. for workers and families who aim to fight poverty and stimulate participation in the labor market.
Understanding the Infrastructure Bill
- A trillion dollar package has passed. The Senate passed a vast bipartisan infrastructure package on August 10, closing weeks of intense negotiations and debate over the largest federal investment in the country’s aging public works system in more than a decade.
- The final vote. The final tally in the Senate was 69 for 30 against. The legislation, yet to be passed by the House, would affect nearly every facet of the U.S. economy and strengthen the nation’s response to global warming.
- Main areas of expenditure. Overall, the bipartite plan focuses spending on transport, utilities and pollution control.
- Transport. About $ 110 billion would go to roads, bridges and other transportation projects; $ 25 billion for airports; and $ 66 billion for railways, giving Amtrak the largest funding it has received since its inception in 1971.
- Utilities. Senators also included $ 65 billion to connect hard-to-reach rural communities to high-speed internet and help enroll low-income city dwellers who cannot afford it, and $ 8 billion for Western water infrastructure. .
- Depollution: About $ 21 billion would go to cleaning up abandoned wells and mines and Superfund sites.
Ms Sinema and fellow Senate centrist Joe Manchin III of West Virginia have expressed reservations about the scope of this larger bill and balked at the $ 3.5 trillion price Democratic leaders have on it. attached. Moderates in the House and Senate, led by Ms Sinema, have resisted many of the top earners and corporate tax increases Mr Biden has proposed to offset spending and tax cuts in the project of law, in order to avoid increasing the budget further. deficit.
So far, Mr Biden has failed to convince Ms Sinema and Mr Manchin to publicly agree to a framework defining how much they are willing to spend and the taxes they are willing to raise to fund the most expensive bill. If Mr Biden fails to find a way to address their concerns, while appeasing progressives and persuading them to support his infrastructure bill, he could see warring factions in his party kill his entire economic agenda. within a few days.
Some Democrats have complained this week that the president has failed to engage in talks to their satisfaction, despite freeing up his schedule this week in hopes of negotiating a deal. He hosted groups of progressives and moderates at the White House last week, for example, but met each separately, as opposed to a group bargaining session.
Ms Sinema and Mr Manchin both visited the White House on Tuesday, but after their meetings neither they nor White House officials listed the outlines of a bill they could support.
“The president felt it was constructive, felt that they pushed the ball forward, felt that there was an agreement, that we are at a pivotal moment,” Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday, the White House press secretary, characterizing the meetings. “It is important to continue to finalize the way forward to get the job done for the American people.”
White House officials said Tuesday evening that Mr. Biden remains in frequent contact with a wide range of Democrats, including phone calls with progressives, and that he will have more conversations on Wednesday.