President Joe Biden’s two-pronged infrastructure and social spending agenda suffered a major defeat this week, or at least a substantial setback, due to Democratic infighting among moderates and progressives that have left both bills stalled out in Congress.
Yet, rather than remain in the White House to press for compromise and passage of the dual legislation, Biden has retreated back to Delaware with his priorities unachieved, Breitbart reported.
Biden agenda stalled out
Those two pieces of legislation are the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF) passed by the Senate months ago and the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” tax and spending bill that includes a wide variety of climate-related and domestic social programs funding.
The former is favored by moderates while the latter is preferred by progressives, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) linked both bills together in an effort to gain leverage and compel members from both wings of the Democratic Party to vote in support of both bills simultaneously.
Pelosi’s clever plan backfired, however, when relatively moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) balked at supporting the $3.5 trillion bill, which prompted House progressives to amp up their threats to spike the bipartisan infrastructure package if brought to the floor for a promised vote that was scheduled for this week.
Progress on both bills has now been stalemated, though negotiations toward a potential compromise are undoubtedly occurring behind the scenes. Whether Biden will be engaged in those negotiations while on vacation at home in Delaware this weekend is unclear.
Biden expresses confidence
Prior to leaving the White House Saturday morning, President Biden stopped to briefly speak with reporters and acknowledged that “Everybody is frustrated” — though he later claimed that he, personally, was not frustrated — and vowed to “work like hell to make sure we get both of these passed, and I think we will get them passed.”
The president took some obligatory shots at congressional Republicans — even though his Democrats are purposefully attempting to pass the legislation alone — and proceeded to promote the leftist highlights of the bills, which he argued are widely supported by the American people, and reiterated his vow to “try to sell what I think the people — American people would buy. And I’m convinced.”
As for the difficulty in getting moderates and progressives on the same page with respect to the two bills, Biden also called out Manchin and Sinema, albeit without mentioning their names and neglecting the infighting in the House, and said, “We can bring the moderates and progressives together very easy if we had two more votes. Two. Two people.”
As for Speaker Pelosi, who contributed immensely to this stalemate by linking the two bills together in the first place, only further compounded her own humiliation by briefly attempting to delink them for the infrastructure vote that was twice scheduled and twice canceled this week, only to then relink the bills together once again.
Nevertheless, she feigned positivity with a press release Friday about Biden’s brief visit with congressional Democrats — she claimed he “received a hero’s welcome!” — and stated, “While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task,” adding, “the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill.”
A somewhat more frantic-sounding statement was issued Saturday, however, that stressed how “more time” was needed to reach agreements that would result in both spending bills being passed — time that Biden will apparently spend at his home in Delaware.