Politics Pelosi: Democrats within striking distance of deal
Pelosi signals big spending package will shrink to $2 trillion
Facing intractable opposition from party centrists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will have to “make tighter decisions” on a massive social welfare spending package that is stalled in Congress. © Provided by Washington Examiner Pelosi, a California Democrat, acknowledged in a press conference Tuesday that the $3.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that Democrats are within striking distance of winning a long-sought agreement on President Biden's sweeping domestic agenda.
Returning to the Capitol from a White House breakfast with the president, the Speaker said there are "a couple outstanding issues" to iron out in the health care arena but that the environmental aspects of the bill "are resolved" and she's "optimistic" that a deal is close.
"We're in good shape. We're moving along," Pelosi said.
Pelosi enters pivotal stretch on Biden agenda
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) faces daunting days ahead as she races to unite feuding factions of her restive caucus and pass a massive social benefits package at the heart of President Biden's agenda, along with a separate infrastructure bill, before November.It all makes for a heavy lift, one steeped in urgency and carrying potentially momentous consequences for both a party facing tough odds of keeping the House in next year's midterms,It all makes for a heavy lift, one steeped in urgency and carrying potentially momentous consequences for both a party facing tough odds of keeping the House in next year's midterms, and a president who's sinking in the polls and desperately needs a big legislative win.
"We had a very positive meeting this morning; I'm very optimistic," she added. "It's exciting, because whatever it is, it's going to be bigger than anything we've ever done for the American people."
Pelosi and President Biden were joined Friday by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who participated in the discussion remotely. The leaders are scrambling to secure an agreement on a massive social spending package at the center of Biden's economic agenda, which includes a broad expansion of health care benefits, safety net programs and efforts to combat climate change.
A key barrier to a deal has emerged in recent days in the form of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), whose opposition to tax hikes on corporations and wealthy individuals - big revenue-raisers that were included in the Democrats' initial $3.5 trillion package - has forced party leaders to seek offsets elsewhere.
Free community college, child tax credits, and affordable housing are among safety net measures on the chopping block as Democrats struggle to find middle ground with centrist holdouts
Democrats are fuming at harsh cuts Manchin and Sinema want in Biden's social spending bill. Some are floating another Democratic-only bill next year.Pelosi is bracing lawmakers for the massive cuts required to assemble a spending package capable of clearing their threadbare majorities in the House and Senate, garnering the votes of a small centrist faction made up of figures like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Appearing at a CNN town hall Thursday night, Biden had laid out the latest developments in those talks, suggesting that Sinema's position would prevent Democrats from including those funding sources in the final package.
Pelosi on Friday downplayed those divisions, noting that House Democrats had already proposed trillions of dollars in new revenue as part of the $3.5 trillion package. Because the moderates have forced Biden to propose a much smaller price tag, in the range of $2 trillion, committee leaders - including Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) of Ways and Means - simply need to choose which of those to implement in lieu of the tax hikes Sinema opposes, Pelosi said.
"We were ready with that, because we were at 3.5" trillion, Pelosi said. "So it's just a question of what we decide."
Pelosi declined to say if Democrats are far enough along to vote on the social benefits package, along with a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill, by the end of next week. Party leaders had set Oct. 31 as an informal timeline for staging those votes, since the authorization for federal highway funding expires the same day.
Pelosi said she'll discuss the timing with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who controls the House floor schedule, "and we'll see."
Asked if a deal is close, Pelosi said "it's very possible."
"Much of what we need to do has been written; it's just a few decisions now," she said.
Confrontations, chaos, confusion: How Biden's agenda stalled yet again .
It started when a top House progressive and the White House chief of staff got on the phone. It ended with sheer Democratic frustration.As Biden prepared for the high-stakes meeting with House Democrats on Thursday, Jayapal made an urgent plea on a call with White House chief of staff Ron Klain: Don’t send the president to pressure liberals to vote Thursday on the Senate’s infrastructure bill without a more progressive social spending bill that’s fully done.