Biden to announce new framework for spending plan

Politics

(Reuters) — President Joe Biden will go to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with Democrats in a final push for his party to unite around his domestic spending plans before he travels to Europe to meet with world leaders, the White House said.

Biden is also set to deliver public remarks at 11:30 a.m. at the White House, hours after he meets with House Democrats meet on Capitol Hill at 9 a.m.

A White House official, who asked not to be named as talks continue, said Biden would update lawmakers “about the Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal,” then “return to the White House and speak to the American people about the path forward for his economic agenda and the next steps to getting it done.”

The president plans to announce Democrats have agreed on a revised framework for his plan that he expects will gain the support of all Democrats, several outlets have reported. Reuters has not confirmed those reports.

Still, it remains unclear whether Biden has the votes to pass any framework on $1.5 trillion or more in social spending into law or a companion bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Even if a framework is adopted, Biden would likely arrive to a meeting of G20 leaders in Rome and then the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, without final legislation in hand even as the United States seeks to ask other countries to adopt similar climate initiatives.

Democrats have a slight majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and only narrowly control the 50-50 split Senate, with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote. This means legislation must win support across a wide swath of progressives and more moderate members of the party.

The White House on Wednesday said Biden had “flexibility” for his departure and has said he can continue to work with lawmakers on his agenda amid his trip.

Progressives, in particular, have fought for a wider spending bill that would make large investments advocated by Biden during his campaigns, such as expanded access to health care, paid family leave and climate provisions, despite pushback from moderate Democratic senators such as Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema.

They have also refused to pass the bipartisan bill without the larger spending bill.

“Details matter. On climate, they’re life+death. So to do my job, I need more than an IOU. Not too much to ask,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a post on Twitter late Wednesday.

Democrats are also grappling with how to pay for the provisions.

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