- Joe Biden struck a $1.75 trillion deal with centrist holdouts Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
- It’s far less than many Democrats wanted to spend to provide new social benefits for Americans.
- It’s unclear whether the framework will gain support among progressives who wanted a much bigger plan.
President Joe Biden appears to have struck a deal with a pair of centrist holdouts, capping months of negotiations that bogged down the party and saw Democrats considerably curtail their ambitions to satisfy Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
CNN first reported the framework, which Biden will speak to on Thursday, which includes investments in childcare, housing, and climate, among other things.
The agreement brokered with Manchin and Sinema would encompass $1.75 trillion in spending.
The sum is far less than most Democrats had envisioned spending on a package that’s supposed to be the centerpiece of Biden’s economic agenda. Progressives, chiefly led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, initially laid out a $6 trillion budget in June. Less than a month later, Senate Democrats struck a deal on a $3.5 trillion budget plan, which they advanced in August relying only on Democratic votes over unanimous Republican opposition.
But the $1.75 trillion plan reflects the painful sacrifices Democrats needed to make to secure Manchin and Sinema’s support, both pivotal votes that they can’t lose in the 50-50 Senate. Manchin has attempted to limit the reach of new social benefit programs, warning that it could cause American society to slip into an “entitlement mentality.”
Some priorities like tuition-free community college have been jettisoned due to opposition from Manchin and Sinema. Other provisions like expanding Medicare so it covers dental, vision, and hearing may still be included but pared back significantly. Democrats are also balking at only renewing bulked-up child tax credit payments for only a year.
The final price tag is far closer to their demands than those of Sanders.
Last week, Biden conceded that unwinding part of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and high-earning individuals are probably out because Sinema is opposed to it. Instead, the bill is financed through other measures, including enhanced IRS enforcement.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for more updates.
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