President Joe Biden’s massive spending agenda remains stalled on Capitol Hill amid infighting between progressives and moderates in his own party.
Reports indicate that he appears to be giving up on progress, at least for the weekend, and has decided to spend some more time at his home in Delaware.
Democratic impasse continues
The president is leaving D.C. at the end of a chaotic week marked by Democratic leaders attempting to get party members in line behind a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a much larger budget reconciliation plan.
Progressives in the party have been holding the $1.1 trillion infrastructure legislation hostage in hopes of guaranteeing the passage of the $3.5 trillion budget bill.
At the same time, moderates — most notably Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — have balked at the size and scope of the larger bill.
Biden spent Friday afternoon attempting to convince congressional Democrats to support the legislation, going so far as to argue that failure to do so would represent a victory for rioters who staged a siege of the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
He also spent hours specifically lobbying Manchin and Sinema, both of whom refused to give in. To the dismay of progressive Democrats, the president admitted that he could not persuade them to agree to the full $3.5 trillion price tag.
“We’re going to get it done”
Following Biden’s remarks on the subject, he appeared willing to take questions from members of his own party, but staffers prevented him from doing so. Of course, it was not the first time his handlers have sought to limit his unscripted public remarks.
As if the intraparty squabbling did not paint a bad enough image for the Democrats, the optics of a president being prevented from answering questions from lawmakers in his party are especially troubling.
His trip to Delaware might be seen as a concession of defeat — at least for now. Before he left, however, he attempted to provide Democrats with some hope.
“Doesn’t matter when,” the president said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re going to get it done.”
For their part, fiscal conservatives and even a few moderate Democrats clearly hope he is wrong about approving nearly $5 trillion to fund a far-left social agenda.