President Biden plans to announce Thursday a revised framework for his social spending plan that he expects will gain the support of all Democrats, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, marking a potential breakthrough after months of lengthy negotiations and stalled talks.
The White House plans to detail specific policies it expects to pass Congress after weeks of whittling down Biden’s agenda, according to one of the people. Democrats on Capitol Hill were preparing written details of the revamped proposal for release on Thursday, according to the second person.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plans on the record. The White House declined to comment.
Biden will address House Democrats Thursday morning before delivering remarks from the White House about the plan. The announcement comes ahead of his planned trip to Rome later in the day to begin a pair of international summits.
“The President will speak to the House Democratic Caucus this morning to provide an update about the Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal,” the White House said in a brief statement Thursday morning. “Before departing for his foreign trip, he will return to the White House and speak to the American people about the path forward for his economic agenda and the next steps to getting it done.”
Build Back Better is Biden’s name for his wide-ranging plan that covers an array of education, health care, climate and other priorities. A breakthrough in the talks could clear the way for passage of a companion infrastructure measure.
The specifics of what the president would announce Thursday were not immediately clear, nor was it clear whether he would be prepared to announce the support of key Democratic holdouts. But Biden recently told congressional Democrats that he thought he could secure a deal for a spending plan between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion.
Biden and congressional leaders for weeks have said they are working on a revised package to bring the top-line spending total down from the initial $3.5 trillion package they proposed earlier this year. The point of the negotiations has been to win the votes of key Democratic centrists concerned about runaway spending, without alienating liberals whose support is also crucial.
The centrists have also voiced concerns about imposing new taxes that would be used to pay for the plan. Democrats were still trying Wednesday to hash out a tax structure that could be approved by their narrow majorities. Republicans have united against the Democratic plan, and no GOP lawmakers are expected to vote for it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that the House Rules Committee would hold a key procedural hearing on Thursday, a move that would allow lawmakers to eventually bring the measure to the chamber floor.
A breakthrough in the talks could clear the way for passage of a companion measure to invest in the nation’s roads, bridges and other public works. That bipartisan infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House.
But liberal House members have vowed not to sign off until they have a satisfactory agreement on the social spending plan. It was not immediately clear whether Biden’s forthcoming announcement would clinch enough liberal support to pave the way for quick passage of the infrastructure plan.
“We have to have the full legislative text and the vote,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said earlier this week, adding that “dozens” of her members would vote against infrastructure if the House tries to move the two proposals independently. “What I want is the two bills moving together at the same time.”
If what I think is happening is truly the case, this is Joe Biden calling everyone to the table and saying "Time's up for games, children. We're moving forward with a deal, legislation, and a vote
On a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, the White House announced the rough outlines of a framework on President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
However, there were still so many unknowns that it’s still not clear whether there’s an actual deal with holdouts such as Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on key details.
We do have new information. We learned that the White House has given up on keeping paid family and medical leave in the deal, and the billionaires’ tax appears to be gone. The White House acknowledged that the provision allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices doesn’t have enough support.
Those are tough losses. But there’s a lot of good in the emerging framework. First of all, the White House committed to a set of revenue raisers that could help combat inequality and reorient our political economy. And a lot of good climate provisions remain in the bill.
Now, how well that will work is anybody's guess. My gut instinct tells me the chance for this being a fatal miscalculation on Biden's part remains extremely high.
You see, there are a number of Democrats who have gone on record saying they will burn the entire Good Package™ down because their perfect is the enemy of Biden's good: Manchin, Sinema, on occasion Mark Warner and Bernie Sanders, and on the House side, Jayapal, the Squad, and the Blue Dog caucus. All it will take is one senator or four House members and we get nothing whatsoever.
There's no deal yet, but there's now a path to the deal, and President Biden is reminding Manchin and Sinema that he's the guy in the White House and not them.
It's about damn time.
Remember most of all this though: as angry as I am at the Dems, remember that the GOP will vote this down without hesitation, even the "moderate" ones like Adam Kinzinger.
There are no good Republicans.