By Victor ReklaitisRobert Schroeder
President Joe Biden on Friday acknowledged that talks over his agenda are at a standstill amid disagreements between progressive and moderate Democrats, though he also said he’s confident that both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion spending bill would pass.
“We’re at this stalemate at the moment,” Biden said during a Q&A session with reporters at the White House after he made remarks on COVID-19 booster shots.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said the House of Representatives will “move forward to pass two jobs bills next week,” referring to the measures targeting traditional infrastructure and “human infrastructure.” The California Democrat had previously set a target of Monday for a vote on the infrastructure package, but did not mention that date in a letter to colleagues.
“As negotiations continue, there may be changes,” Pelosi wrote.
The $1 trillion infrastructure (BATS:PAVE) bill passed the Democratic-run Senate in a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10, but it still hasn’t become law, as it needs to pass the Democratic-run House and get signed by Biden.
Monday has been the next key date for the bill, as that’s when Pelosi promised a vote on the measure to a group of 10 moderate House Democrats. She made her promise in late August to get the moderates’ support for a procedural vote for the party’s $3.5 trillion plan for social spending, climate change and other Democratic priorities, which along with the infrastructure bill would deliver on Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.
Pelosi, Biden and other party leaders also face pressure from progressive House Democrats who repeatedly have said they won’t support the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the $3.5 trillion package moves ahead as well through a process known as reconciliation .
Democrats have a narrow House majority and can afford no more than three defections on legislation if there’s no Republican support for it. The Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats in control only because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes.
Senate passage of the $3.5 trillion package looks tricky, as two moderate Democratic senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, have said they don’t support it .
U.S. stock benchmarks (S&P:SPX) (DOW:DJIA) traded mixed on Friday following two days of gains.