President Biden has privately informed Democratic lawmakers he is optimistic they can reach an agreement on a social spending plan capped at about $1.9 trillion, a spending target that would mark a significant reduction from the vast economic overhaul he initially envisioned, according to a report Tuesday.
Biden detailed a potential deal for a spending proposal of between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion during a private meeting on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The president was said to have shared the outline with at least some Democratic lawmakers.
The revised package includes many of the original plan’s signature proposals, including universal pre-K, substantial investment in green energy and expanded Medicare benefits. However, the sources told Washington Post the details were still subject to change.
The Post reported the downsized spending plan could cut or reduce several programs favored by progressive leaders, including less money than they wanted for affordable public housing, a child tax credit extension of just one year, and reduced paid leave.
The latest spending benchmark indicates Biden and other Democratic leaders have made significant cuts to their vast spending plan to achieve a compromise that satisfies both moderate and progressive Democratic lawmakers. Democratic leaders have set an Oct. 31 deadline to reach an agreement on the spending plan and a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal.
During her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was "continuing to make progress" toward an agreement, with Biden playing a leading role in negotiations.
Democratic moderate Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said they would not support Biden’s original $3.5 trillion spending plan without major cuts. Manchin has publicly called for a spending plan of closer to $1.5 trillion.
It’s unclear if House Progressives will back a spending plan at the lower end of the proposed range. Progressives have pushed Democratic leaders not to reduce the spending plan’s scope, even if it meant funding programs over shorter periods of time.
Earlier in the day, House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal expressed optimism that a deal would be reached, though she noted Biden has "consistently laid out a number that is somewhere between $1.9 and $2.2 [trillion]."
"Look, it’s not the number that we want," she told reporters. "We have consistently tried to make it as high as possible, but at the end of the day, the idea that we can do these programs, a multitude of programs that actually get them going so they deliver immediate transformational benefits to people is what we’re focused on."