Biden said he reluctantly expected the legislation’s final version to weigh in between $1.9 trillion and $2.3 trillion
President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ push for a 10-year, $3.5 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives has reached a turning point, with the president repeatedly conceding that the measure will be considerably smaller and pivotal lawmakers flashing potential signs of flexibility, the AP reports.
In virtual meetings Monday and Tuesday with small groups of House Democrats, Biden said he reluctantly expected the legislation’s final version to weigh in between $1.9 trillion and $2.3 trillion, a Democrat familiar with the sessions said Tuesday. He told them he didn’t think he could do better than that, the person said, reflecting demands from some of the party’s more conservative lawmakers.
Biden used those same figures during a Friday meeting in the Capitol with nearly all House Democrats, according to that person and a second Democrat familiar with the gathering. Both Democrats would describe the meetings only on condition of anonymity.
There has been no agreement on a final figure, and plenty of other unanswered questions — plus the possibility of failure — remain. Crucial unresolved matters include how to get virtually every Democrat in Congress to vote for a measure they’ve spent months fighting over and that Republicans will solidly oppose, and whether the shrunken price tag would be reached by dropping some proposals or by keeping most but at lower cost or shorter duration.
But by repeatedly conceding that the crown jewel of his own domestic agenda will have to shrink and providing a range for its cost, Biden is trying to push his party beyond months of stalemate and refocus bargainers on nailing down needed policy and fiscal decisions.
“I want to make sure that we have a package that everyone can agree on,” Biden told reporters Tuesday in Howell, Michigan, where he went to try building public support for his plan. “It’s not going to be $3.5 trillion. It’s going to be less than that.”
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