Biden to head to Capitol Hill as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on spending bills

Asia's Tech News Daily

Joe Biden will travel to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to update Democrats on his spending and infrastructure bills before making public remarks.

Biden to head to Capitol Hill as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on spending bills
© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Democrats have been struggling to reach consensus on the scope of a pair of bills to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, boost social spending and fight climate change. With the narrowest of margins in Congress, and unified Republican opposition, they need near 100% agreement within the caucus to pass anything.

The party had signaled it would reach an agreement this week, prior to Biden’s trip to Europe later today, where he will travel to Rome, the Vatican, and then to the United Nations climate conference, known as Cop26, in Glasgow, Scotland. But Bernie Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont said there was “no way” a deal would be reached before Thursday after meeting with Biden on Wednesday afternoon, according to Politico.

Biden to head to Capitol Hill as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on spending bills
© Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP Joe Biden speaks at a rally Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia.

The attempt at pushing through what is meant to be Biden’s landmark package has already come at a cost to the $3.5tn original agenda, which included critical policies regarding early childhood education, funding for climate change mitigation and other key parts of the Biden platform.

Senior Democrats in Congress were at odds on Wednesday over a proposal to tax billionaires’ assets to help pay for the social and climate change agenda, leaving it unclear if the idea had enough support to become law.

Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, has continued to stand between the administration and its priorities, saying the billionaire’s tax had “the connotation that we’re targeting different people”. Biden had also met with Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has blocked several progressive pieces of the agenda.

Several media outlets reported that Democrats dropped a provision on Wednesday that would have provided up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, and would have brought the US closer to its global peers.

The Biden administration was said to be preparing a flurry of executive orders and other actions to have some climate policies in hand before the Cop26 conference, which begins on 31 October. But without adequate congressional support and funding, those actions will fall short of what the original Build Back Better agenda had promised.

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