Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

Sep 24, 2021, 10:58 AM | Updated: 11:07 pm
President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 response and vaccinations in the State Dining Room of...

President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 response and vaccinations in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden on Friday cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but “hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

Pelosi also told reporters that “the plan” was for her chamber to consider the $3.5 trillion package next week as well. It remained unclear how House-Senate bargainers would solve their differences over that bill that quickly.

The president said his private meetings with some two dozen Democratic lawmakers this week in efforts to hasten progress and close the deal went well — describing the tone as collegial and with “no hollering.”

But as lawmakers raised objections over the sweep and scope of the plan, which is to be funded by higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Biden said he tried to get them focused on priorities — what they can and can’t live with.

“It’s about paying your fair share, for lord’s sake,” Biden said. “There clearly is enough, from a panoply of options, to pay for whatever it is.”

In a stark reality check, Biden suggested talks could drag to the end of the year. “It’s just going to take some time,” he said.

Lawmakers are working nonstop and Biden is facing pressure to close the deal. Pelosi met Friday at the Capitol with her leadership team, and the House Budget Committee planned a rare Saturday session to take the strictly procedural step of sending the $3.5 trillion bill, as drafted by 13 other House panels, to the full chamber without any changes.

Before the House votes on that measure, it is certain to change, perhaps more than once, to reflect compromises reached with Senate Democrats.

Biden’s big vision over his “Build Back Better” campaign promise proposes expanding health, education and federal programs, with more services for Americans of all ages, while investing heavily in efforts to tackle climate change. All this would be paid for largely by hiking tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals, those earning beyond $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples.

But centrist Democrats see the overall price tag as too much, while progressive lawmakers are hesitant to compromise any further after already having dropped even more ambitious ideas.

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This undated photo issued on Jan. 13, 2022 by GOV.UK shows Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at ...
Associated Press

UK’s Johnson, and his foes, await key ‘partygate’ report

LONDON (AP) — As he fights for his career, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has one constant refrain: Wait for Sue Gray. Gray is a senior but previously obscure civil servant who may hold Johnson’s political future in her hands. She has the job of investigating allegations that the prime minister and his staff attended […]
1 day ago
An employee of Sotheby's Dubai presents a 555.55 Carat Black Diamond "The Enigma" to be auctioned a...
Associated Press

Out of this world: 555.55-carat black diamond lands in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Auction house Sotheby’s Dubai has unveiled a diamond that’s literally from out of this world. Sotheby’s calls the 555.55-carat black diamond — believed to have come from outer space — “The Engima.” The rare gem was shown off on Monday to journalists as part of a tour in Dubai […]
1 day ago
In a satellite photo by Planet Labs PBC, Abu Dhabi International Airport is seen Dec. 8, 2021. A su...
Associated Press

Suspected drone attack in Abu Dhabi kills 3, wounds 6

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A suspected drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi killed three people on Monday and sparked a separate fire at Abu Dhabi’s international airport. Emirati police identified the dead as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani. Several people were also wounded […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by the American Indian Child Resource Center, Native American children dance...
Associated Press

Chan, Zuckerberg fighting Native American vaccine hesitancy

Dallas Goldtooth, known for his role in the hit FX television series “Reservation Dogs,” slowly swivels in his chair to face the camera in a recent TikTok video. As he looks at the audience, a voice-over announcer says, “When people refuse to get vaccinated but also talk about protecting future generations, that’s stupid.” The Dakota […]
1 day ago
FILE - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a meeting with Vice President Ka...
Associated Press

Mexico president returns after 2nd COVID-19 infection

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador returned to his morning news conference Monday following a week of isolation for his second coronavirus infection. The president used his relatively speedy recovery to remark on the lighter symptoms of the omicron variant, which has quickly become dominant in the region, though he had […]
1 day ago
Ronald Leopold, executive director Anne Frank House, gestures as he talks next to the passage to th...
Associated Press

Cold case team shines new light on betrayal of Anne Frank

AMSTERDAM (AP) — A cold case team that combed through evidence for five years in a bid to unravel one of World War II’s enduring mysteries has reached what it calls the “most likely scenario” of who betrayed Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank and her family. Their answer, outlined in a new book called “The […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while