Pelosi promises Democrats will pass spending plan 'soon' amid internal fighting
Pelosi: Democrats 'rounding the turn' on spending bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats are "rounding the turn" on a massive social spending bill as the two warring factions of the party debate how to cut at least a trillion dollars from President Biden’s signature economic plan.
"We’re almost to the stretch," Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference. "We’re rounding the turn. And we're making great progress to our goal of securing framework agreement for Build Back Better in a timely fashion."
Moderate and progressives have been haggling for weeks over what began as a $3.5 trillion family and climate plan, fighting over which programs to remove entirely and which programs to aggressively pare back. Lawmakers have said they hope to reach a deal by the end of the week.
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Although it's unclear what the final proposal may look like, it's expected to be significantly smaller than the original one floated by the White House: President Biden reportedly discussed a topline figure with Democrats this week that would be somewhere $1.7 trillion and $1.9 trillion, the Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The narrower package includes many of the original plan's proposals, including universal pre-K, substantial investment in green energy and expanded Medicare benefit; however, the details are still subject to change, the Post reported. Still, it may eliminate, or weaken, several key programs favored by progressives, including free community college, less money for affordable public housing and a child tax credit extension of just one year.
"Although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic, transformation and will make an enormous difference in the lives of working families," Pelosi said, adding: "And it will pass soon."
For weeks, Democrats have been trying to reach a deal on their vast spending plan in a way that satisfies both centrist and left-wing lawmakers. With a 50-50 split in the Senate and just three votes to spare in the House, Democrats need to essentially vote in lockstep to ensure the package passes.
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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. Pelosi did not respond on Thursday when asked whether she thought lawmakers would meet that self-imposed target date.
During her daily press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House was "continuing to make progress" toward an agreement.
Democrats have just a few legislative weeks to negotiate and pass a spending bill in both chambers in addition to the infrastructure bill that Biden views as critical to his campaign pledge to work across the aisle. But the party will also be juggling the threat of two impending crises: a government shutdown and debt default.