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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.