Politics Pelosi sets Rules meeting on Biden agenda; no infrastructure vote in sight
Big changes in White House ideas to pay for $2 trillion plan
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — In an abrupt change, the White House is floating new plans to pay for parts of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social services and climate change package, shelving a proposed big increase in corporate tax rates though also adding a new billionaires' tax on the investment gains of the very richest Americans. The reversal Wednesday came as Biden returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to highlight the middle class values he says are at the heart of the package that Democrats are racing to finish. Biden faces resistance from key holdouts, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
The House Rules Committee will discuss portions of President Biden's massive social spending package on Thursday, the same day the president is set to head to Europe for a high-stakes global climate summit, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday afternoon.
Yet there remains no agreement on key elements of the nascent legislation, let alone a final legislative text, as liberals and moderates continue to joust over the size, scope and how to pay for the enormous package.
Americans want new infrastructure — and they're willing to pay for it
They believe that those who use infrastructure should pay for it but believe equally that the federal and state governments, through taxes, should also fund our infrastructure. I recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans through the Development Research Institute at New York University to examine Americans' attitudes and opinions about key infrastructure issues. Sixty-eight percent reported they were willing to pay more in exchange for safer and more reliable infrastructure.
Given the remaining hurdles, the Rules Committee, which typically marks up legislation as the last step before it hits the floor for a vote, is conducting a rare "hearing" instead - a signal that Democratic leaders want to project appearances of major progress in the negotiations without having a final product to unveil.
"[W]e are close to agreement on the priorities and the topline of the legislation, which can and must pass the House and Senate," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats.
An agreement on the social benefits package is crucial to the success of another piece of Biden's domestic agenda: a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that has already passed through the Senate and is awaiting a House vote. Liberals in the lower chamber have blocked that proposal to pressure their moderate colleagues to get behind the larger - but less popular - social benefits package, which is opposed by every Republican in both the House and Senate.
Democrats squabble, scramble to meet self-imposed deadline. Why this week is vital for Biden.
Democrats still differ over what to strip out of Biden's budget bill, which is likely to be much smaller than the initial $3.5 trillion Biden pitched.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earlier this month, set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the House to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and achieve consensus on a bigger budget bill that includes a number of liberal policies like subsidizing child care and fighting climate change. .
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have sought to break through that liberal resistance and stage an infrastructure vote this week by securing a "framework" agreement on the larger package. That would lend Biden a victory before he heads overseas, where he could tout specific steps the United States is taking to combat global warming.
In Wednesday's letter, Pelosi urged her members to put some "trust" in their fellow colleagues for the sake of expediency.
"[W]e are facing a crucial deadline for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass. To do so, we must have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act," she wrote.
But the progressives have remained steadfast in their opposition to such a vague proposition. Behind Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, they're insisting not only on a framework agreement on the "family" benefits plan, but also legislative text and votes on the floor before they'll back the bipartisan infrastructure bill, known as the BIF.
Far-left Democrats make Nancy Pelosi delay infrastructure bill again
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again backed off from bringing up the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on the House floor in the face of far-left opposition to voting on the legislation before an agreement is reached on a separate social spending bill. © Provided by Washington Examiner “As you know by now, the House will postpone the vote on the BIF [bipartisan infrastructure framework],” Pelosi told colleagues in a letter Thursday night. “The good news is that most Members who were not prepared for a yes vote today have expressed their commitment to support the BIF.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), a member of the Progressive Caucus, said roughly 40 members of the group met Tuesday night to discuss their strategy, and came away with the same commitment to hold the line on infrastructure in order to assure they get the best hand out of the social benefits package.
"Unless there is some kind of real agreement, text, something, people are not going to vote for the BIF," Gomez said.
Still, party leaders are leaving open the possibility that they'll achieve a breakthrough over the next 24 hours, before Biden gets on a plane.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the Rules Committee, said an infrastructure vote this week is "still a possibility." He met with Pelosi Wednesday morning and said afterwards that the Speaker "thinks we're moving."
And Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) delivered a similar message, saying there will "possibly" be an infrastructure vote Thursday. Hoyer also suggested Biden might visit the Capitol Thursday to nudge reluctant lawmakers behind the bill.
Al Weaver contributed.
COVID-19, corporate taxes, Iran nuclear deal on Biden's agenda for Day One of G-20 summit .
The G-20 summit that opened Saturday in Rome will mark the first time in two years that some of the world's most powerful leaders have met in person.Biden arrived at the modernist, cloud-shaped convention center in Rome where the Group of 20, or G-20, is meeting and was welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. A few minutes later, he joined other leaders for a traditional "family photo.