Democrats must make a series of hard decisions over how much they are willing to spend on the package and what will be included, a challenge made more difficult amid persistent and stark divisions between progressives and moderates. If the party can’t reach consensus, a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda is at risk of falling apart.
Congressional Democratic leaders now have the difficult task of attempting to steer their members toward compromise as they warn that some priorities may not make it into a final deal.
Schumer also outlined an October timeline in his letter to the Senate Democratic caucus as he noted the challenges of pursuing a dual track strategy to enact both legislative priorities.
“I have said from the beginning that the execution of the two-track legislative strategy for the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act would be difficult,” he wrote.
“At the end of the day, we will pass legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of the American people. And we must aim to do that in the month of October,” he added.
If work on the economic package spills past the end of October, Democrats could still get it done at a later date in November or December. But it won’t be long until Congress must once again confront other pressing matters.
The debt limit and government funding to avert a shutdown have both been extended on a short-term basis into early December, setting up another looming fiscal crisis that will undoubtedly take up much of lawmakers’ time and energy in the weeks ahead.
The price tag and the details
Two major sticking points for Democrats looking to lock down a deal on the economic package are what the overarching price tag should be and what will be included.
Progressives have pushed for a price tag of $3.5 trillion, but key moderate Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have both indicated they will not support that.
Party leaders have now made clear that the price tag will have to be scaled back to reach a deal.
As of now, however, Democrats have still not reached a consensus on the overall cost of the package.
A scaled back price tag means Democrats must decide how to structure the scope of the bill and has set off a debate over whether they will cut certain policy items or implement an array of programs within a more limited time horizon instead.
Progressives are making clear that they don’t want to see major cuts.
What’s on the chopping block?
“How do you pit child care against paid leave? How do you pit pre-K against housing? How do you pit climate change against any of those things?” Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair, said in a recent interview on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
“We would be willing to cut down the years a little bit, but we do need to have all of those priorities in the bill,” she added.
“He is not there on the CEPP period. We’ve been trying,” one Democratic aide with knowledge of the negotiations told CNN. The aide told CNN late last week that Democrats are trying to find ways to restructure the program to fit Manchin’s concerns while still reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Manchin spokeswoman Sam Runyon told CNN in a statement Friday that the senator “has clearly expressed his concerns about using tax payer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing. He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability.”
Jayapal on Saturday denied that Manchin tanked the climate provisions in Biden’s larger economic bill, saying that “there’s no decisions that have been made, the negotiations are continuing.”
CNN’s Manu Raju, Ella Nilsen, Annie Grayer and Ryan Nobles contributed.Checkout latest world news below links :
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