Biden seeks to sell out Democrats in $ 1.75 trillion plan

President BidenJoe BidenBiden to Meet House Democrats Ahead of Europe Trip: Report 21 House Democrats Call for Removal of IRS Bank Reporting Proposal from Spending Bill Overnight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Vulnerable Democrats Push Drug Pricing Plan MORE will present Democratic lawmakers with a framework on a new $ 1.75 trillion climate and social spending package on Thursday, seeking to unify a fractured party behind the plan before he heads to Europe for an international climate conference later. on day.

The package is much smaller than the $ 6 trillion measure progressives once hoped for and the $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution passed by the House and Senate earlier this year.

Officials noted that the framework included the largest expansion of health care coverage since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and said it would lower premiums for more than 9 million Americans by an average of $ 600 per person. year.

It includes $ 150 billion in affordable housing investments, extends the earned income tax credit and child tax credit for one year, provides funding for historically African-American colleges and universities, and increases the maximum amount of the Pell Grant.

But the framework does not include a number of key priorities for progressives that Biden had also advocated for.

The fact sheets and summaries provided by the White House did not mention paid family leave. Democrats hoped to include 12 weeks of paid family leave, before Biden acknowledged last week that his goal had been lowered to four weeks.

In the end, it was removed from the package as one of several concessions to the Sen. Joe manchinJoe ManchinBiden to Meet House Democrats Ahead of Europe Trip: Report 21 House Democrats Call for IRS Bank Reporting Proposal Removed from Spending Bill Democrats Try to Back Manchin on Removal of the paid family leave proposal PLUS (DW.Va.), one of two centrists who opposed the cost of a larger bill and a series of specific provisions favored by many House and Senate Democrats.

The bill also does not include the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which had been seen as the best way to reduce U.S. emissions, and would not allow the government to negotiate with prescription drug companies on Medicare prices, a high priority for Sen. Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Democrats Hoping to Hold Big Oil ‘Accountable’ on Money: Will Joe Manchin ‘s Billionaires Tax Survive? Democrats cut paid leave from spending deal amid opposition from Manchin MORE (I-Vt.).

A White House official told reporters that Biden is backing Sanders in the prescription drug negotiations, but that there were not yet enough votes to get that to “cross the line.”

The framework includes $ 100 billion to reduce immigration delays, expand legal representation, and improve the border and asylum processing system. But it would not reform the system or provide a path to citizenship for undocumented communities after a series of negative rulings by the Senate MP.

Democrats are moving the package through budget reconciliation rules that circumvent filibuster. But they must adhere to strict rules about what can be included in the measure to do so.

The framework does not include a number of details, and one official acknowledged that Biden was not drafting a final bill, but that his framework would inform the legislative text that will be drafted in the next few days.

Its. Dick durbinDick Durbin Patience wears out as Democrats miss deadlines 535 ‘presidents’ with veto power: why budget deal remains elusive After 35 years, Congress should finally end sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine powder MORE (D-Ill.), The second Senate Democrat, described the framework as “close to existing.”

He also said he wasn’t sure if the framework had the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.

“I wish I could say yes, but there is a lot of uncertainty within the caucus as to what the agreement contains,” he said.

“I will tell you that there is a will to do it. And I think a positive sentiment among the 48 senators, we have been waiting to meet two senators, I hope we can do it soon, “he added.

“It is important to remember that what we have on the table here are two bills, two bills that make historic investments in the United States, and the president is asking Congress to vote to approve both,” said a senior official from the administration.

The second bill is a $ 1 trillion infrastructure measure passed by the Senate that has been frozen in the House, where progressives have wanted to see the social spending bill move first. Democrats would like to hold a vote on the infrastructure measure as soon as possible to boost Democratic gubernatorial candidates in next week’s Virginia and New Jersey elections. But it’s unclear whether the framework outlined by Biden will be enough to win that vote.

Senior administration officials say they believe the social spending bill will pass both the House and Senate, but officials did not say whether they had firm commitments from key members.

“We are not going to speak for any legislator here, but we are confident that this landmark framework will win the support of all Democratic senators and will be approved by the House,” said a senior administration official in a call with reporters on Wednesday. morning.

Biden will begin his sales pitch with a meeting on Capitol Hill with the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday morning before leaving for a multi-day trip to Europe.

It appears that Biden will fall short of calling for an immediate vote on the infrastructure package during the closed-door meeting with Democrats, and officials said he would give in to the Speaker of the House. Nancy pelosiNancy PelosiBiden to Meet House Democrats Ahead of Europe Trip: Money Report: Will Joe Manchin Billion Dollar Tax Survive? Energy and Environment Overnight – Presented by American Clean Power – Democrats Prepare to Grill Oil Executives MORE (D-Calif.) About voting scheduling.

“He will refer to President Pelosi’s leadership on the specific timing of the votes, but will be fully convinced that he believes that each of these bills should be passed when they are presented,” said the senior administration official.

A planned vote in September on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already passed in the Senate was scrapped as progressives vowed to retain their votes without a framework in the broader reconciliation package, and Democrats appeared to be at risk of bypassing the self-imposed Sunday deadline to get both measures passed.

Jordain Carney contributed.

This story was updated at 9:29 a.m. M.

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