Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said Sunday that the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill has "never been about the price tag" but that a $1.5 trillion topline price suggested by moderates in the party is "not going to happen."
Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on CNN’s "State of the Union" that "a small group of people" in her party, meaning moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have derailed President Biden’s agenda by treating the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill as separate from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Progressives like Jayapal want both bills to move in tandem and have vowed to vote against the smaller bill if they don’t. Manchin and others have vowed to vote against the reconciliation bill if the price tag isn’t lowered.
Jayapal called the Democratic Party infighting "unfortunate."
"What we’ve said from the beginning is it’s never been about the price tag, it’s about what we want to deliver – the price tag comes out of that," she said. "The critical thing is, let’s get our priorities in and then we’ll figure out what it actually costs. … We’re not thinking about the number."
Jayapal said a compromise could include funding all the social programs that progressives want, like the child tax credit and paid family leave, but for a shorter period of time.
"Our idea now is to look at how you make them funded for a little bit of a shorter time," she said.
Jayapal said programs in the bill cutting carbon emissions are non-negotiable and that she would unequivocally vote against anything containing the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from being used toward abortion services. Manchin has said the bill is "dead on arrival" if it did not include the Hyde Amendment.
Manchin also said his topline price tag for the reconciliation bill is $1.5 trillion.
"Well, that’s not going to happen," Jayapal responded. "Because that’s too small to get our priorities in. So, it’s going to be somewhere between $1.5 and $3.5 trillion."
The congresswoman said she didn’t have a "counter offer" yet, adding that "this is the beginning of the negotiation."