Pelosi warns Democrats not to ’embarrass’ Biden as leaders call for infrastructure vote
House Democratic leaders are pushing for a vote on the infrastructure bill even as leading progressives signal they plan to withdraw support, a dynamic that could force leaders to delay the vote for the second time. in two months and deal a blow to Biden on the world stage.
Biden appealed directly to House Democrats in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, presenting them on a framework for a separate and broader climate and economic ensemble. The infrastructure bill and the economic package are key priorities for the president as well as for Democratic members of Congress who want to prove they can govern.
Pelosi’s warning not to “embarrass” the president came during the closed-door meeting. She also said she would table the infrastructure bill later Thursday and hold the vote open to pass the bill.
The problem for party leaders is that progressives have made it clear that they do not want to vote for the infrastructure bill unless the larger bill moves in tandem and one framework suffices. not to win their votes.
The stakes are high, with Biden having made it clear in private for more than a week that he wants an agreement and the passage of the infrastructure bill before arriving at a UN climate conference on November 1. . Biden left for his overseas trip on Thursday.
Biden introduces Democrats, but progressives remain skeptical
During the closed-door meeting with House Democrats, Biden presented in person the long-awaited details of his $ 1.75 trillion economic and climate package, trying to convince progressives who are skeptical of of anything that is not a fully written bill and the commitments of the 50 members of the Democratic Senate caucus to support its framework.
While Biden’s proposal is not finalized in its entirety, days of negotiations have brought it to a place where key elements are all locked in.
The personal address to House Democrats marks a concerted effort by the president to take control of a cumbersome process that has led to significant revisions to Democratic goals in a bid to gain the support of centrist Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona.
Not all Democrats approved the framework Biden announced Thursday morning, two people familiar with the plan warned, but the president believes it is a consensus all Democrats should be able to support.
Neither Manchin nor Sinema made an explicit commitment to support the plan on Thursday, although they both said they were continuing to negotiate after Biden’s meeting with House Democrats.
Sinema responded to the executive by saying in a statement: “We have made significant progress” and “I look forward to it”.
Manchin was evasive when asked by reporters if he would support the framework agreement. Later Thursday, he said: “We haven’t seen the text yet. Everyone has to see it. I don’t think anyone can say they could support it until they see the text. text.”
Notably, however, Manchin signaled his support of $ 1.75 trillion in revenue for the package.
Asked by CNN if that price was too high, he replied, “No”, adding: “This has been negotiated.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus chairperson Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state emerged from the meeting with Biden telling reporters she didn’t think the framework was enough to rally progressives.
âI wouldn’t say anything different from what I knew before,â she said.
Jayapal later said, after a separate meeting with House progressives, “We had a very lively and engaged discussion,” and said that “everyone in the room enthusiastically approved a resolution that approves in principle the framework that the president presented today “.
âWe intend to vote for both bills when the Build Back Better Act is ready,â she said, referring to the broader climate and economic package. But, she added, “we need the vote on both bills in the House at the same time.”
Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN there should be no vote on the infrastructure bill on Thursday.
âWell I think that shouldn’t happen,â Sanders said. “I think the two bills are linked and I think the House of Representatives has a right to know before approving the infrastructure bill that all 50 senators are ready to support a strong reconciliation.”
Senate Democrats cannot afford to lose a single voice in passing the bill in a process they plan to use, known as budget reconciliation.
This dynamic gave each member – and in particular the moderates, including Manchin who rejected a number of the original proposals for the package – inordinate influence over the process.
Biden leaves for Europe
After his visit to Capitol Hill, Biden delivered a public address on the frame.
âToday, I am happy to report that after months of difficult and thoughtful negotiations, I know we have a historic economic framework,â Biden said.
“It is a framework that would create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity and put us on track not only to compete, but to win the day. economic competition for the 21st century against China and all the other great countries of the world, âhe said.
The trip represents a major moment on the world stage for the president who added urgency to the pressure for a deal and vote on the infrastructure of the House.
What’s in the frame
The $ 1.75 trillion proposal focuses on caring for families, tackling the climate crisis, expanding access to health care, cutting costs for the middle class, and tax reforms.
The new plan makes major concessions and lacks several key components that Biden initially offered, including paid family and medical leave, prescription drug pricing provisions, free community college, and medical or vision or dental coverage. Medicaid.
It includes provisions to help families with childcare and care, including a free universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the biggest expansion of public education in 100 years. years, according to the White House.
Much of the framework focuses on climate and would include the largest legislative investment in addressing climate change in U.S. history, according to the White House. Within this framework, $ 320 billion would be devoted to tax credits for clean energy. This includes expanded 10-year tax credits for clean energy at the utility and residential scale, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
On health care, the plan would close the Medicaid coverage gap and provide health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits to some uninsured Americans. . It would also expand Medicare coverage to include hearing services.
This story and title was updated with additional developments on Thursday.
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Phil Mattingly, Kevin Liptak Lauren Fox, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, Annie Grayer, and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.