Biden traveled to Michigan to promote the proposal to expand safety net, health, and environmental programs. However, he recognized the inevitable when Democrats focused on a $2 trillion top-line to win support.
Biden stated to reporters, "I want us to have a package everyone can agree on." It won't be $3.5 trillion. It will be lower than that.
"We are going to get it done."
There were strong indications on Capitol Hill that Democrats were coming together to support Biden's push to create a $2 trillion package. This figure seemed acceptable to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and other centrists who have reservations. Biden cannot spare one Democratic senator's support with all Republicans opposed.
Gleichzeitig, Democrats are forming new battle lines as they decide which of their many programs -- climate change, education, and health -- will be included in the final proposal.
Biden suggested that he would sign a bill with the Hyde Amendment to show how much could change before the bill gets to his desk. This amendment blocks federal funds being used in most cases for abortion. Progressive Democrats are against it, but Manchin would like it to be included in the final bill.
Biden stated to reporters, "I would sign it any way,"
Biden addressed a union training facility and called those opposed to his plan "complicit" in America's decline. He argued that America's spending plan was crucial for its global competitiveness. Biden stated that he wants to make clear his agenda and cut through the "noise" in Washington.
He stated that America is still the world's largest economy, and America still has the most productive workers, and the most innovative minds, but America's edge as a nation is at risk.
After spending the last week deep into details of negotiations on Capitol Hill, the president continued to outline his plans more clearly than ever before.
He emphasized the most popular parts of the plan and not the costly topline. He also stressed that the spending of trillions would be spread out over a decade, and would be paid for by tax increases and income taxes on corporations and the richest Americans.
According to polling, large numbers of people are happy with the social spending bill and the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. These elements include expanded child care opportunities as well as roads-and bridges infrastructure projects. Even White House close allies worry that the West Wing is not doing enough to promote the spending. Biden returned to the road Tuesday to pitch his policies in the red-leaning district represented by Democratic Rep. Elissa slotkin.
Biden stated that these bills were not about left-versus-right or moderate vs progressive. These bills are about complacency versus competitiveness.
Washington was facing a bigger problem as Senate Republicans were putting up obstacles to raising the nation’s debt limit. This is a routine vote necessary to allow more borrowing, and to prevent a catastrophic credit default. Biden stated that Democrats are looking at changing the filibuster rules of the chamber, which would lower the 60-vote threshold and make it 50 votes.
Negotiations on the bills to increase spending on infrastructure, safety net, and health programs continued. Biden's social services agenda portion has been a sticking point for decades. Progressives want the money to fund their priorities, while moderates are hesitant about the staggering $3.5 trillion.
However, there is a growing consensus that the topline number will eventually fall. This was acknowledged by Biden in private to legislators and publicly on Tuesday.
Biden has floated $2 trillion in private meetings as the figure for his signature package. This includes in a late Monday call with progressive House lawmakers. However, they still advocated for a higher figure, according to an anonymous source.
The Democrats who have the greatest influence on Biden's spending plans and the success of those plans are the House members from swing constituts, whose reelections will be crucial if the party wants to keep control of Congress.
Many of the targeted moderates, including Arizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran and Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, joined Biden Tuesday for a virtual meeting. The previous day, he held a similar session with twelve progressives.
His Tuesday visit to Slotkin’s district, which President Donald Trump narrowly won for 2020, was intended to give moderates like her support to his spending plan.
Slotkin supports the bipartisan, smaller $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which has been passed by the Senate. However, she prefers that it be passed in the House, before the larger package of social programs.
Slotkin told The Detroit News that it was difficult for him to understand why the leadership decided to tie the bills together. "That's not the way we normally work. It's not what I prefer."
Washington was engulfed in drama last week, as lawmakers struggled to pass the huge Democrats-only social spending bill. It is linked to the infrastructure bill. If the other bill shrinks, progressives are reluctant to vote for the infrastructure bill.
Even though talk of shrinkage was increasing, Senator Bernie Sanders, I.Vt., a leader among the progressives, stated Tuesday that "There's lots of discussion going on but I'm confident at end of the day there's going to be good agreement."
"This bill cannot do 18 new things at once, but it could do four, five, or six bold new things," stated Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware ally to the president.
Some programs may be cut or restricted to those who have the need. Lawmakers are looking at ways to limit access.
Biden's team met with Democratic leaders at Capitol late Monday as they rush to complete the latest draft.
One senator felt moved to compare it all with dancing.
"The best image that I have is a square dance. You come together but then you fall apart. You come together but then you fall apart," Sen. John Hickenlooper, Colorado, said to describe his fellowDemocrats. "There is a rhythm, and we have to keep it in tune. That's the challenge.