Biden will spend this week working behind the scenes to pressure Democrats over his broad national agenda


Biden is expected to meet with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in the White House on Monday, and officials are already planning another meeting with Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema this week. As Biden meets with both moderates and progressives in groups at the White House on Tuesday, Manchin and Sinema are expected to secure a solo audience with the president. Other Democrats accused the two moderates of delaying a Senate deal 50-50.

While Biden periodically has “congressional time” on his schedule, the source told CNN there was a lot more than normal this week. Biden is leaving Washington next week for an overseas trip to the G20 in Rome and the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, so assistants are carving out more than usual in hopes of making it happen. an agreement before his departure.

Biden will bring two groups of House Democrats to the White House on Tuesday as officials step up efforts to reach agreement on the president’s broad national agenda, according to a White House official.

Biden will hold a meeting with moderate members and a second with progressive members, the official said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “spent the weekend continuing his deep commitment on behalf of his economic growth agenda for the middle class, speaking to members who represent the full spectrum of Hill Democrats’ views on the way forward for its human infrastructure, and physical infrastructure plans.

Psaki confirmed that Biden met with Representative Pramila Jayapal in the White House on Monday and the series of meetings with moderate and progressive members. She said the administration was “encouraged by the accelerated pace of the talks”, and when asked if anything specific had changed in recent days, she said the president “certainly felt an urgency to move forward. things to get things done “.

“I think you have seen this urgency echoed by Members of the Hill, who agree that time is not endless here and that we are eager to move forward with a unified path for the American people.” , she said.

When asked if Biden felt the need to negotiate the continued sparring between Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, and Manchin, Psaki said Biden had been in contact with both senators to better understand the way forward. and what are the priorities of each of them. .

White House officials and congressional leaders have been engaged for several weeks with Manchin – as well as Sinema – as they work to reduce key issues with the proposal, two people involved have said.

It is described as a granular process and aims to address the concerns of Manchin and Sinema – which differ considerably – while maintaining the key principles that Biden and the progressives have advocated in the proposal.

Those involved in the talks say there has been tangible progress over the past week, although the most important decisions have yet to be made. Those involved know the window is tight for a final deal, driven both by deadlines – an Oct. 31 expiration of surface transportation finance legislation – and by Biden’s overseas trip.

Factors beyond Washington’s control also played a role, including a race for governor just across the Potomac River from the capital.
While Virginia’s gubernatorial race is not a major concern in the talks themselves, those involved said, Democrats have increasingly focused on trying to secure a legislative victory to improve their positions. chances in this race.

Still, White House officials were careful not to impose a set deadline on the talks, even though they made it clear that the time window for protracted negotiations was drawing to a close.

The focus of the talks themselves has basically been to find ways, under a roughly $ 2 trillion proposal, to shift money into different areas and programs to get closer to the goals, otherwise scale, originally planned in Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion package.

White House and Congressional officials worked for several weeks to respond to Manchin’s opposition to a fundamental clean energy standard, pushing to set additional tax incentives and credits for clean energy, as well as other fiscal and emissions policies to try to achieve overall targets. CNN reported over the weekend that the program may be separated from the legislative package in order to secure Manchin’s support.

Similar efforts are underway in other areas of concern raised by Manchin and Sinema, ranging from paid leave provisions to extending the expanded child tax credit, officials said.

The idea, to some extent, is that the talks are not about a binary choice to drop entire programs or make all of Biden’s proposals for a shorter duration. Instead, it’s a mix of the two, with an effort to achieve the goals set out by Biden and the Progressives in at least some form throughout the proposal.

This is something Biden alluded to when speaking to reporters on Friday.

“I think it’s important to establish the principle on a whole host of issues without guaranteeing you get the entire 10 years,” Biden said. “It’s important to establish it. You pass the principle, and you build it.”

White House advisers have planned this week to keep Biden flexible for visits from lawmakers or even a potential trip to Capitol Hill if that is seen as potentially beneficial. Washington’s timeline will be largely determined by the pace of negotiations, as Biden continues to step up his public discourse on the proposals outside the White House. Biden is expected to visit his hometown of Scranton, Pa. On Wednesday.

Despite growing pressure from Democrats for Biden to establish a firm line with Manchin and Sinema, this is not expected in the near term, an official said, given the progress in talks at this point.

Still, Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue involved in the talks have acknowledged that at some point it’s likely that Biden will have to make the two moderate senators understand that it’s time to move forward. This decision, if made, would be made jointly by Biden, Pelosi and Schumer, who maintained a united front throughout the talks.

That point, however, has not yet been reached, officials said.

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