Biden, Progressive Leader Jayapal Meet With Agenda Hanging in Balance
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden met with the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Monday as lawmakers returned to Washington for make-or-break negotiations over the president’s infrastructure and social spending proposals.
The president spoke with Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, at the White House. Biden is planning to hold other conversations by phone with Democrats across the ideological spectrum.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Biden will hold separate meetings on Tuesday with liberal and more centrist factions of congressional Democrats. He’ll travel to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday to continue trying to drum up public support for his econcomic agenda.
“We are at a point where we feel an urgency to move things forward,” Psaki said, saying an acceleration of Biden’s calls and meetings “is a reflection of that.”
Biden has no public events listed on his official schedule for Monday. CBS News reported the Jayapal meeting earlier Monday.
Biden is seeking to unite moderate and progressive Democrats behind tax increases and social spending aimed at fighting climate change and lowering costs of child care, higher education, and health care.
But the legislation has so far struggled on Capitol Hill, with two moderate Democratic senators -- West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema -- demanding the programs be scaled back in cost and scope.
Progressive members, including Jayapal, have blocked the House from moving forward on a Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill until a deal on the separate spending and tax legislation is reached.
Biden told reporters on Friday he was “pushing hard to try to get it moving as quickly as I can” but said there was not a deadline for concluding the talks. House Democrats have indicated they hope to have a framework agreement in place by the end of the month, when funding for federal transportation programs expires.
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