Despite late-night negotiations, Democrats were unable to reach an immediate agreement to pass President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion development package, forcing leaders to drop the promised vote on the “Public Works Bill.” Talks will resume on Friday (1/10) US time.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kept her members late into the night and White House advisers have gathered for talks at the Capitol Congress as Senate Democrat leaders negotiate budget cuts acceptable to centrists.
Biden has cleared his schedule for every possible need with members of Congress, but a deal has not been reached, especially with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
The president’s massive $3.5 trillion proposal would essentially raise taxes on corporations and the rich and return the money to health care, education, and other programs, all of which touch American lives.
Senator Manchin did not budge, the West Virginia centrist stuck to his earlier declaration that he was willing to approve a budget that would amount to less than half of the president’s $1.5 trillion proposal. “I think 1.5 trillion is sufficient for the things we need to do. That amount will be enough to care for our children, to care for our citizens who are in the final phase of their lives, our senior citizens and we are working hard on that,” Manchin told reporters as he left the Capitol.
The promised vote for the first part of the widely-supported Public Works Bill proposal also failed to take place amid stalled talks about a more ambitious overall package. The smaller package is worth $1 trillion.
Progressives refuse to support the bill for the construction and repair of roads and bridges, which they see as insufficient unless progress is made in Biden’s broader plans that are at the heart of the Democratic Party’s agenda.
Congressional leaders finally agreed to cancel the vote Thursday night, and said they would convene again on Friday. [lt/uh]