Biden: Budget talks hit 'stalemate,' $3.5T may take a while

President Joe Biden says talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress

Via AP news wire
Friday 24 September 2021 16:24
Biden
Biden

President Joe Biden said Friday that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate" in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation's tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party's centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment."

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I'll be able to deliver on what I said I would do."

The president said his private meetings with some two dozen Democratic lawmakers this week in efforts to hasten progress and close the deal went well — describing the tone as collegial and with “no hollering.”

But as lawmakers raised objections over the sweep and scope of the plan, which is to be funded by higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Biden said he tried to get them focused on priorities — what they can and can't live with.

”It’s about paying your fair share, for lord’s sake,” Biden said. “There clearly is enough, from a panoply of options, to pay for whatever it is.”

In a stark reality check, Biden suggested talks could drag to the end of the year. “It’s just going to take some time,” he said.

Congress is racing toward a deadline Monday for a test vote on the first part of his package, a $1 trillion public works bill that has become snared in the broader debate. With Republicans lockstep against Biden's entire plan, Democrats must heft the votes to passage on their own, with slim majority control of the House and Senate that allows for no defections.

At the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said both bills are moving forward.

“It is my intention to bring our bills to the floor when we are ready,” she said.

Lawmakers are working nonstop and Biden is facing pressure to close the deal. Pelosi was meeting Friday at the Capitol with her leadership team, and the Budget Committee is planning a rare Saturday session to draft the package.

Biden's big vision over his “Build Back Better” campaign promise proposes expanding health, education and federal programs, with more services for Americans of all ages, while investing heavily in efforts to tackle climate change. All this would be paid for largely by hiking tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals, those earning beyond $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples.

But centrist Democrats see the overall price tag as too much, while progressive lawmakers are hesitant to compromise any further after already having dropped even more ambitious ideas.

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in