President Biden is not only digging in his heels, but he is extending the timeline signaling how long and drawn out the process will be in passing his controversial infrastructure legislation.
The president left a meeting with his own Democratic Party on Friday and he implied that a timeline for the passage of the bills being debated in Congress is no longer important to him. According to a report by The Hill, President Biden met with the House Democratic caucus to have discussions over how to actually pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, along with the Democrats’ larger social spending package.
As Biden was leaving the meeting, he assured the people that “We’re gonna get this done.” But then he gave this remark, “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done.”
It seems that already we are seeing that Biden’s own political legacy might be at stake if his own Party is not able to jam the larger social spending bill down the throats of Congress. And it has become more and more apparent that the inability of the Democratic Party to get the smaller, bipartisan bill passed could serve to jeopardize Democrats in the midterms. This smaller bill includes funding specifically directed at classical infrastructure needs, such as roads and bridges.
Obviously, all of the back and forth concerning this legislation is creating a lot of tension on Capitol Hill. Presently it is the progressives in Congress who have held strongly to their high-priced social spending bill. The moderates in the Democratic Party have indicated that they won’t support a very expensive bill.
Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic senator from Arizona, and Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, have both vowed not to support any bill in the $3.5 trillion range.
Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich said that “The White House has been trying to get Manchin and Sinema to agree to a $2.1 trillion reconciliation deal, but the framework is not enough for progressives to vote for the bipartisan bill. Biden now traveling to the Hill is a significant part of this effort to get it done.”
But Sinema was seen heading back to Arizona on Friday which likely indicates an end to any serious new negotiations. She did tell the media that she is still in contact with the White House on the matter.
President Biden attempted to lower expectations for a vote on Friday on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, even though there was a push from his centrists. And he noted that the progressives should be ready to accept a lesser social spending package than they initially expected. In other words, the $3.5 trillion would possibly look more like $2 trillion. But, according to The Hill, the president has not specifically stated a top-line number for the package.
It was also reported that some Democratic lawmakers left the meeting irritated by the sense that there isn’t a hurry to pass the bipartisan bill.
Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) echoed the president’s sentiment saying, “No one had a specific timeline, but it’s not today.” And The Hill noted that Rep. Jim Costa from California expressed frustration that the House vote didn’t appear to be imminent.
Apparently, both Biden and Pelosi were desperately counting votes on the infrastructure bill after Pelosi was forced to call off a planned vote on the measure.
Because the progressives were demanding Sinema and Manchin agree to pass the $3.5 trillion package before they’ll sign on to the $1.2 trillion, Pelosi seemed to have called in Biden himself to help her handle the breakdown of her own caucus.