WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to attend a Thursday morning meeting with all House Democrats shortly before his trip to Europe in a last-minute push to get progressives to vote for a stalled bipartisan infrastructure bill, two sources familiar with the plans told NBC News.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aiming to hold a vote Thursday on the $550 billion measure, but progressives have insisted that a larger social safety net bill proceed alongside the Senate-passed infrastructure package. Democrats, however, have yet to finalize the social policy bill due to sharp disagreements between moderates and progressives.
Biden’s expected visit on Thursday, first reported by CNN, could briefly delay his planned departure for overseas summits. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that “there’s flexibility” built into his schedule.
The House Democratic Caucus meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m., where Biden is expected to provide an update on his Build Back Better agenda and press progressives to help pass the infrastructure bill. The Senate passed that measure in August with support from Democrats and Republicans.
Biden signaled in a tweet Wednesday that a deal could be reached on getting key components of his agenda passed.
“Universal preschool. Historic climate investments. Lower health care costs,” the president tweeted. “They’re all within our reach. Let’s bring these bills over the finish line.”
Democratic leaders have struck an optimistic tone about negotiations over the safety net bill, which contains key components of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, but there are still a number of unresolved issues between moderates and progressives. The White House had hoped to get to an agreement on the president’s legislative agenda before the president leaves for meetings in Europe.
Biden’s attendance on Thursday would come after a major setback for progressives. On Wednesday, Democrats dropped a proposal for paid family and medical leave from the spending package after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a moderate, raised objections.