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Inside the chaos stalling Biden's multi-trillion agenda: President and progressive wants $3.5T in his budget, but Manchin, Sinema and moderates want LESS and an infrastructure bill first (so what will Pelosi do?)

 Friday begins another day of dissary for Democrats with frustration boiling over after officials were unable to come to a deal on President Joe Biden's multitrillion dollar spending plans.

As a result, the House to abandon a planned vote on an infrustracture deal as the party's civil war escalated. 

Lawmakers and White House officials are regrouping after an 11-hour day Thursday failed to produce a deal.

WHERE THINGS STAND

Negotiations are continuing between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party with no end in sight to this political game of chicken.

Moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema said they could not support the topline price of $3.5 trillion for Biden's budget package of social programs, which includes expanded education, health and environmental programs. It would be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. 

House progressives, in return, said they would not support Biden's $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes funding for traditional projects like roads, bridges, and airports, until the Senate passes the $3.5 trillion package. 

Both sides are refusing to budge. 

Moderate Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin said on Thursday they could not support the topline price of $3.5 trillion for Biden's budget package of social programs

Moderate Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin said on Thursday they could not support the topline price of $3.5 trillion for Biden's budget package of social programs

The House was scheduled to vote on the infrastructure plan on Thursday - after it was delayed from Monday - but Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to delay it again when it was clear she didn't have the votes for passage. With only a four seat majority, she cannot afford to lose many Democrats.

It remains unclear if the House can vote on the bipartisan infrastruce deal - known as BIF - on Friday. 

'I have no idea,' said Democratic Rep. James Clyburn when asked on Friday morning if there would be a vote that day. As Democratic whip, he is in charge of counting votes. 

PELOSI: We will pass the infrastructure bill 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is staking her reputation as one of the best deal-makers and vote counters in legislative history on Biden's agenda.

Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, acknowledged what was at stake on Thursday when she called the president's $3.5 trillion budget package the 'culmination of my service in Congress.' 

She is whipping members hard, hauling moderate and progressive lawmakers alike into her ornate office in the Capitol with its private balcony overlooking the Washington Monument. The speaker has passed tough votes before, notably in 2010 when she shepherded Obamacare through the House. 

'I'm only envisioning taking it up and winning it,' she said Thursday. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is staking her reputation as one of the best deal-makers and vote counters in legislative history on Biden's agenda

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is staking her reputation as one of the best deal-makers and vote counters in legislative history on Biden's agenda

Pelosi arrives at Capitol amid Dems' infrastructure discord
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She held open the possibilty of Thursday vote on infrastructure as long as she could, finally throwing in the towel shortly after 11 p.m. but vowing to continue forward. 

'We're on a path,' Pelosi told reporters on Friday morning when she arrived at the Capitol for another day of negotiations. 

Moderates are pressing for the vote to happen, and unhappy with the delay, while liberals are holding firm.

Pelosi is walking the tightrope in between, attempting to find out exactly what it will take to reassure progressives the budget package will happen: an agreement, a framework, or an actual Senate vote. 

She is emphasizing what both sides have in common. In a Friday morning meeting of House Democrats, she asked everyone who wanted the infrastructure plan to pass, according to reports. Nearly every one stood. 

MANCHIN and SINEMA: Want less than Biden's $3.5trillion in the reconciliation package 

Moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema said early on they could not support a topline number of $3.5 trillion but, it's only in the last 24 hours that negotiations have really heated up.

Only Manchin has given a public figure he can support: $1.5 trillion, which will be rejected by House progressives. 

Leadership and White House officials - Louisa Terrell, the director of legislative affairs, Brian Deese, the director of the national economic council, and Susan Rice, the director of the domestic policy council - spent Thursday evening targeting Manchin and Sinema, meeting with them for hours in the dark, damp basement of the Capitol, locked behind closed doors as an army of journalists waited in the concrete hallway outside.

They hoped to convince the two to agree to a $2.1 trillion topline number, Politico reported, but the senators did not sign on.

'We're in good-faith negotiations, we'll continue in good-faith negotiations,' Manchin told the reporters who swarmed him as he left the Capitol. 

But he has refused to budge from his $1.5 trillion position.

'I don't see a deal tonight. I really don't,' he said as he walked out of the building.  

Sinema plays her cards closer to her chest and rarely talks to reporters, saying she prefers to negotiate in private.

The Arizona Democrat released a statement on Thursday that did not give her topline number but said she gave that figure to Biden and Democratic leaders in August.

The statement came as she has been under fire from the left wing of the party for holding up Biden's agenda. Many liberal lawmakers berated her for not naming their price tag. 

Sinema has put dollar figures on the table and 'continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions' with both Biden and Schumer, spokesman John LaBombard said the statement. 

'We do not negotiate through the press — because Sen. Sinema respects the integrity of those direct negotiations,' he noted.  

Sinema left Washington D.C. for a medical appointment in Phoenix on Friday. Her office said she is remaining in touch with the White House as talks continue. 

'Senator Sinema is in Phoenix where she has a medical appointment today, and where she continues remote negotiations with the White House,' her office said in a statement.

'Last night, Kyrsten and our team offered the White House continued discussions and negotiations for this morning. We're awaiting word from the White House for their availability,' the statement added.

Sinema broke her foot in June while running the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon in Washington state. She is an avid athlete and runner, competing in marathons and ironmans. In the weeks after she was spotted in the Capitol hobbling on crutches and wearing a boot.  


The White House issued a photograph of President Biden signing a bill to avert government shutdown on Thursday

The White House issued a photograph of President Biden signing a bill to avert government shutdown on Thursday

At the White House, a Marine guard was on duty late outside the West Wing, a sign President Joe Biden was in the Oval Office, working the phones

At the White House, a Marine guard was on duty late outside the West Wing, a sign President Joe Biden was in the Oval Office, working the phones

BIDEN: Will go to Capitol to try and save his agenda 

The delayed infrastructure vote was a blow to President Joe Biden, who prides himself on his reputation as a dealmaker and his deep ties to Capitol Hill. 

It leaves his domestic agenda hanging in the balance as the president works frantically to salvage the situation. 

He will travel to Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to meet with House Democrats.

'The President will travel to the Hill to speak with members of the House Democratic Caucus this afternoon,' the White House announced.  

Lights were on in the West Wing of the White House late into Thursday night and a Marine guard stood at the front door, a sign Biden remained in the Oval Office, working the phone lines.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was asked Friday if Biden needs to be more involved in negotiations: 'I promise you, President Biden is deeply involved,' she replied, adding that she had spoken to the White House several times the previous day.

PROGESSIVES: Won't budge on the $3.5 trillion

The 96-member strong  Congressional Progressive Caucus is holding all the cards at the moment.

With at least half of their members committed to voting 'no' on the infrastructure bill if the $3.5 trillion budget package doesn't pass, they hold the majority of the voting power. 

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which has already passed the Senate, now needs only to pass the Democrat-controlled House before it heads to Biden's desk. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the caucus, reiteriated on Friday that they need a Senate vote on the budget package first. 

'I have consistently said that we need a vote in the Senate because I want to make sure that there are no delays that there are no mix ups that there are no mixed understandings about what the deal is, and so that's what I've been saying,' she said.

Complicating matters, the Senate is not scheduled to vote again until Monday and many senators have headed back to their home states until then.  

They argue they have already compromised enough on the sweeping social agenda package, which includes paid family leave, universal prekindergarten, free tuition at community college, Medicare expansion and strong measures to combat climate change.

Progressives originally wanted a $6 trillion package. Rep. Cori Bush reminded lawmakers the $3.5 trillion 'was the compromise.' 

The liberal left shows no signs of cracking.

'Inaction is insanity,' said Rep. Ilhan Omar, directing her comments at Manchin.

'Trying to kill your party´s agenda is insanity. Not trying to make sure the president we all worked so hard to elect, his agenda pass, is insanity.'

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said her caucus needs a vote in the Senate on the $3.5 trillion budget package before they can support an infrastructure deal

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said her caucus needs a vote in the Senate on the $3.5 trillion budget package before they can support an infrastructure deal

1 comment:

  1. So what will Queen Nasty do? Call up and bribe each and every single politician who opposes this crap and pay them a small fortune to do it HER way......duh....

    ReplyDelete