President Joe Biden paid a short visit to the Capitol on Wednesday, July 14, to persuade Democrats from both his party’s progressive and moderate wings to consider his multitrillion-dollar budget agenda.
The Senate Democrats a day earlier had settled on a $3.5 trillion deal after months of negotiation, which for the upcoming decades would be spent on climate change, education, a Medicare expansion, and more reported the Associated Press.
Additionally, a further $1 trillion bipartisan deal on roads, water systems, and other infrastructure initiatives that senators from both parties are discussing with Biden’s assistance will need to be factored in.
While it has not been clear how the Democrats would manage the sweeping spending bill, Schumer stressed that it would include that affluent citizens “pay their fair share,” and tax modifications would mostly spare the middle-class and lower-earning.
NPR noted that the financing for the measure would primarily depend on three sources: healthcare savings, tax code adjustments, and long-term economic development.
The budget resolution agreement would require at least 10 GOP votes with all 50 Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold, or else it may still be subjected to a filibuster.
However, while most GOP senators showed little interest in how the finance of the package would be carried out, the Democrats were also divided in their views.
Some moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) wanted a lower amount because of worries about the deficit, with Manchin siding with the GOP members on concerns of inflation.
Most GOP lawmakers had cited recent growth in inflation caused by the Democrats’ $1.9 Trillion coronavirus relief package this March to oppose the proposal. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) slammed the leftist party, saying they are spending “like it’s Monopoly money.”
Manchin was not in line with the climate change initiatives either, which will try to eliminate fossil fuels. That is unrealistic from his perspective.
“If my friends and colleagues think they can eliminate their way to a clean environment, it will never happen,” he said, adding it was more plausible to spend on new technologies to cope with climate issues. “Get with reality, people.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) caucus calls it a “historic, once-in-a-generation progress for families across the nation.” Yet, in a letter to colleagues, she seemed to leave the door open to seeking more, saying, “We will fight to ensure that our priorities become law.”
The chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said of the Senate plan, “… as a very big, positive step forward.”
To reconcile the Democrats, Biden joined a private lunch with the Democratic senators where he spent an hour pitching his budget blueprint, walking around the room with a microphone, taking questions, and received numerous standing ovations.
After the talk, progressive Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he was not yet convinced, although Biden “made a really compelling case for both packages,” saying “The devil is still in the details.”
As Murphy said, Biden referenced the people from his homeland in Scranton, Pennsylvania, who were concerned that the government might neglect its duty to them.
“His point was that we need to be thinking about folks who have given up on democracy,” Murphy said, adding that Biden urged them to “think about whether what we are doing is going to pass muster with the folks he grew up with.”
Still, the proposal is far less than Biden’s spending plan, which is supposed to be nearly $4.5 trillion. Some of the president’s initiatives may have to be removed to get it passed, but Biden was pretty much optimistic.
“I think we’re in good shape. There may be some slight adjustments in the pay-fors,” Biden added.