President Joe Biden told reporters Friday that he was in no rush to see his $1.1 trillion infrastructure package and separate $3.5 trillion spending bill pass Congress, as divisions among Democrats over the two measures slow their path to becoming law.
“We’re gonna get this done,” Biden said after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill. “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done.”
Biden met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats for approximately 30 minutes Friday afternoon as congressional leadership pleaded with him to become more involved in negotiations.
And though optimistic, he reportedly told the caucus they would need to compromise on both bills if they did not want to end up with nothing at all.
A vote on the infrastructure bill “ain’t going to happen until we reach an agreement on the next piece of legislation,” Biden said.
Although the House was supposed to vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill this week, it was shelved multiple times as it became clear that left-wing Democrats led by the House Progressive Caucus would deny the bill the support needed to clinch a majority.
Progressives repeatedly have called for the Senate to pass the budget, which contains Democrats’ long-sought priorities, such as child care, Medicare expansions, and climate change mitigation measures, before the House votes on the infrastructure package.
Democratic leadership, top White House officials, and Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—the two most prominent Senate Democrats holding out on the spending bill—said they made progress Thursday.
But they had not reached a compromise when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced around 11 p.m. that no vote would take place.
Centrist Democrats have insisted that the House first pass the infrastructure bill, arguing that the legislation, which puts $1.2 trillion toward improving American roads, bridges, ports, broadband, and more over the next decade, is overwhelmingly popular and would deliver Biden a much-needed win.
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