Tussling Dems are rushing towards an agreement on Biden’s economic plans

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Contradicting Congressional Democrats clearly rallied last week over President Joe Biden’s domestic ambitions of several trillion dollars. However, the two measures to increase resources for social, environmental and infrastructure programs remained in the works, and lawmakers also managed to embarrass Biden and House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi.

This dissonance reflects how things routinely work in Congress, where legislation and politics are clumsy and often produce tangled messages.

A look at the bumpy road the Democrats have made after another tumultuous week of trying to drag their agenda through a Congress so tightly divided that they need almost unanimous support to crush the united Republican opposition:

PROBABLE VICTORY IN SIGHT

Though his final form is still being negotiated, Biden bowed to the handful of die-hard Democratic moderates who demanded that he cut his 10-year package of $ 3.5 trillion in social and environmental programs in half.

After months of negotiation, the party’s increasingly powerful progressives have largely chosen to support a draft of this now scaled-down plan, though they are still struggling to maintain some programs. While they initially claimed $ 6 trillion and then fell back to $ 3.5 trillion, they still explain the win at a whopping $ 1.75 trillion, maybe a little more.

A final deal would allow Biden and his party to sell voters the bulk of the measure for a universal preschool, expanded health care subsidies and tax breaks, and clean energy tax credits. It is largely paid for in new levies on millionaires and large corporations. All of them do well in surveys.

Two Democratic aides said Sunday that progress is being made in expanding the language, which aims to lower drug costs by letting Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices. The compromise would cover fewer drugs than many Democrats want, but it would still be a victory for the party. The adjutants described the conversations on condition of anonymity, since they were not authorized to discuss them by name.

A BONUS BUT AN UNCERTAIN SCHEDULE

Once a deal is made, the progressives say they will also have the House of Representatives vote on an accompanying package of $ 1 trillion in road, water and other infrastructure projects, another goal of Biden. This bipartisan bill has already been approved by the Senate, but the progressives of the House of Representatives have held it hostage to pressure the moderates to support the broader social and environmental measure.

Optimists say the votes could take place this week. Skeptics think conversations can take much longer. To date, this process has resulted in adversity between progressives and moderates on an almost daily basis, which does little to improve the party’s prospects of maintaining control of Congress in next year’s elections.

One short-term event that could affect Democratic talks is the Virginia gubernatorial election on Tuesday.

Should Republican Glenn Youngkin defeat Democratic ex-governor Terry McAuliffe in the blue state, it could worry the Democrats about their influence on the suburbs in the swing area enough to settle their differences sooner. Or it could make some of them less willing to support the bigger package.

MODERATE SAYS PROGRESSIVES THAT LEAD TO DAMAGE

Biden held a private pep rally with House Democrats in the Capitol on Thursday, advocating both bills: “I need you to help me.” At the same meeting, Pelosi, D-California said she wanted the House of Representatives to approve the infrastructure measure and said, “We have to be successful today.” What she said was described by a person familiar with the meeting, who insisted on anonymity.

But the week ended with the democratic negotiations still going on. The vote on the infrastructure never took place as the progressives insisted on seeing a full, final text of the social and environmental measure first.

In a city that is closely watching leaders spend their political capital, moderates said the day dealt a blow to Biden, Pelosi and the party. Biden’s support in polls has dropped recently, and the intransigence of the base would only hurt it more, they said.

“We are the party that wants to achieve something,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif. He said Biden “demonstrated his credibility today by asking his Democratic group in the house to support him and there were a number of members who were unwilling to do so”.

“This day will go down in history like no other day when the Democrats dragged themselves through the mud,” said MP Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. He warned: “Republicans will use every possible scenario to convince the nation, including the Independents, that the Democrats just don’t have the juice for the job.”

PROGRESSIVE FIRE BACK …

Biden had no choice but to cut the size of his economic plan in half. Without the support of the centrist Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, she had no chance in the 50:50 Senate. That gave them a special place in the hearts of progressives.

“We need a few senators to understand that Joe Biden is the president, and I think we’ll be in a better place,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., A progressive leader.

Liberals and party leaders say everything will end well.

“President polls will rise the minute we put them in” Laws to strengthen education, climate and other programs, said Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., MP, who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “These are the things that people want us to fight for and we will deliver them.”

Late on Thursday, the progressives said they were aiming to ultimately support both bills. Pelosi thanked the “overwhelming number” of Democrats who were willing to do so. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the passage was “clearer than ever.”

… BUT THE RESULTS ARE MIXED AND INCOMPLETE

The social and environmental measure undeniably includes gains for progressives, but its lower price tag means that some priorities are being cut.

Free community colleges, paid family vacations, and fines on utilities that use high carbon fuels are gone or in recent efforts to revive them.

More than a dozen Democratic women in the House of Representatives issued a statement calling the omission of paid vacation “unscrupulous” and criticizing critics for “a kind of paid vacation instead of the struggle for one’s own life as it often is ” regard.

Democrats’ hopes of helping millions of immigrants stay in the United States are also dangling.


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