Politics Pelosi huddles with Biden as Dem dealmaking intensifies
Dem tension keeps spiking ahead of make-or-break three weeks
“We have some important decisions to make in the next few days so that we can proceed,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have indicated they hope to reach a deal on the massive social safety net bill by the end of the month. But if the dueling messages Tuesday are any indication, Democrats remain miles apart on an agreement to address everything from child care and paid family leave to a massive health care expansion to climate change, as the party grapples with which priorities in the bill should stay, which should go and which should be trimmed.
President Joe Biden had breakfast with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday as Democrats close in on a deal on Biden’s social spending plan, though a final agreement with the party's two Senate centrist holdouts is unlikely to come this week.
Several sources with knowledge of the intensifying talks said they doubted a deal could come together on Friday given where things stand between Biden and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). But Democrats are ending the week with far more clarity from that duo than they began, giving the party increasing confidence it can land a framework for the bill this month.
Public knows little about big spending package — Pelosi blames the media
The media should be helping Democrats pass a stalled massive social welfare package. © Provided by Washington Examiner That was one of the messages House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered to reporters when the House convened briefly on Tuesday to pass an extension of federal borrowing authority. New polling shows few people know much at all about the massive proposal and that even fewer people believe the legislation would do anything to help their lives.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed upbeat as she returned from the White House, telling reporters she believed a deal was within reach, though repeatedly declining to say whether it could happen today. She also declined to say whether the House could vote on either the social spending bill or the Senate-passed infrastructure bill next week, remarking only that "I'm very optimistic."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dialed into the Pelosi-Biden breakfast from New York, according to a source familiar with the meeting. Though Manchin said the party still has work to do as he left the Capitol on Thursday -- and has indicated to associates he is in no rush to finish a deal -- Biden expressed confidence Thursday night that the party could break its lengthy logjam.
Newt Gingrich huddles with House Republicans: Time for new ‘Contract with America'
With Democrats having the slimmest House majority in a century and midterm elections historically favoring the party opposite from the president, Republicans are well positioned to flip the House in 2022. © Provided by Washington Examiner That makes this the perfect time, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich thinks, for Republicans to craft "Contract with America" 2.0. “For the first time since ‘94, I would advocate a Contract with America,” Gingrich told to the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House, in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.
“It’s all about compromise,” Biden said at a CNN town hall. “I do think we’ll get a deal.”
Negotiations are mainly between the White House, Manchin and Sinema at this point, according to Democratic sources, and it's not clear they are within striking distance of a final deal yet. Pelosi’s leadership team is also expected to meet later Friday before the House breaks for the weekend.
Video: Claire McCaskill: Sinema has agreed to a plan to fund Biden agenda (MSNBC)
Democrats are aiming to sell Manchin and Sinema on a roughly $2 trillion bill that tackles climate action, expanding paid family leave, education and childcare, paid for as much as possible by increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. They are unlikely to raise income or corporate tax rates due to opposition from Sinema, but Democrats are proposing workarounds to establish a corporate minimum tax and levy billionaires' assets.
Nancy Pelosi dodged question on whether she will run for Speaker again if Democrats keep the House in 2022
"Why would I tell you that now?" Pelosi told CNN's Jake Tapper while laughing. She went on to say she would discuss it with her family first.Pelosi has led Democrats in the House since she was first elected speaker in 2007, making history as the first woman to hold the position. CNN's Jake Tapper asked her Sunday morning if she would seek to continue to seek that position.
Manchin has proposed a bill of $1.5 trillion but indicated some flexibility, and Democratic leaders in both chambers have welcomed Biden's direct engagement in that negotiation.
"I've been hoping there was gonna be a deal for the last three months," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday, adding that Biden is "working it pretty hard, so I'm hopeful that we'll get something done. Obviously our objective was to get something done by [Friday]."
During the town hall, Biden discussed some of the party's disagreements with Sinema and Manchin, including Sinema’s opposition to raising the corporate tax rate. The president said Sinema “will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people, period,” though some of the proposals she’s working on would target corporations and the rich without rate hikes.
Shortly after a Thursday meeting with White House staff, a source close to Sinema said the Arizona Democrat had agreed to proposals in Biden’s four revenue categories: international, domestic corporate, high-net-worth individuals and tax enforcement. It’s not clear, however, whether other Democrats have all signed off on those Sinema-approved provisions.
Number of joint Biden-Harris appearances plummets: Report
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris appeared together publicly 18 times in February after rising to the White House on a promise to be a partnership. But in October they only had one joint press event.When Biden picked Harris to be the first female and woman of color to be vice president he strongly indicated she would be an equal partner in his administration.
Biden also offered additional policy specifics Thursday night, opening a window into where the negotiations stand on the party’s top priorities in the social spending plan. For example, Biden said that the party's proposal for paid family leave would last four weeks, instead of the 12 weeks that proponents of the package originally sought. In addition, Biden revealed that both Sinema and Manchin oppose expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing.
Manchin “doesn't want to further burden Medicare so that -- because it will run out of its ability to maintain itself in the next number of years,” Biden said. “There's ways to fix that, but he's not interested in that part, either.”
The movement comes as Democrats are feeling growing pressure to deliver, particularly ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial election early next month. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Thursday that there is a “ willingness to say to leadership: ‘Make the hard decisions, cut the deal, get this done,’ on the part of nearly all of my colleagues.”
Biden makes last-minute push for economic agenda before heading overseas .
President Joe Biden on Thursday was making a last-minute push for agenda before heading overseas. "No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that's what compromise is. That's consensus. And that's what I ran on," Biden said in remarks from the White House East Room.