October 24, 2021

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Democrats offer array of options for passing stalled infrastructure, reconciliation bills | TheHill – The Hill

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Democratic lawmakers on Sunday offered numerous options for pathways for the potential to pass the stalled infrastructure bill and reconciliation package after failing to bring either key measures of the Biden administration to a vote in the House last week.

Some lawmakers said they were confident that they would be able to pass both measures while others, including some progressives who refused to vote for the bipartisan bill unless they could pass the larger reconciliation package first, suggested they’d be open to a smaller price tag or a shorter amount of years of funding social programs. House Democrats failed to bring either bill up for a vote last week as moderate lawmakers like Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDurbin says he supports .5T reconciliation bill price tag, but he is a ‘realist’ Jayapal: ‘We are going to deliver’ on infrastructure and reconciliation bills Battling over Biden’s agenda: A tale of two Democratic parties MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBattling over Biden’s agenda: A tale of two Democratic parties Sanders says there may be ‘give and take’ on reconciliation price tag Who’s the boss? Pelosi’s legacy sealed after kowtowing to ‘the Squad’ MORE (D-Ariz.) refused to budge from their demands of a lowered reconciliation package.

“We are going to deliver both bills,” leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Jayapal said Manchin’s request for a pared-back reconciliation bill of $1.5 trillion was “too small to get our priorities in,” though she could not give an exact number.

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Senior White House adviser Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondSenior White House adviser says Biden ‘expects to get’ both infrastructure and reconciliation bills Sunday shows preview: Biden amps up involvement in talks amid tug-of-war over infrastructure LIVE COVERAGE: Biden tries to unify divided House MORE echoed that sentiment, telling “Fox News Sunday” host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceTop GOP senator: ‘Far-left Democrats are driving the bus and Joe Biden is just along for the ride’ Senior White House adviser says Biden ‘expects to get’ both infrastructure and reconciliation bills Fox opens renovated bureau honoring Krauthammer, Snow MORE that President BidenJoe BidenTop GOP senator: ‘Far-left Democrats are driving the bus and Joe Biden is just along for the ride’ Political study should give Democrats a jolt Fauci says it’s a ‘false narrative’ to think COVID-19 vaccine not needed if Merck drug approved MORE “wants both bills and he expects to get both bills.” 

Both Jayapal and Richmond said they were focused more on the actual delivery of the bills, with Richmond, a former congressman from Louisiana, saying the White House was “not concerned with process.” 

“What we’ve said from the beginning is that it’s never been about the price tag. It’s about what we want to deliver,” Jayapal said. “The critical thing is let’s get our priorities in and then we will figure out the actual cost.”

However, fellow progressive lawmaker Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop GOP senator: ‘Far-left Democrats are driving the bus and Joe Biden is just along for the ride’ Sanders says there may be ‘give and take’ on reconciliation price tag No silver bullet for crisis at the Southern border MORE (I-Vt.) appeared to push back against suggestions of reducing the price of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders said it was not his “understanding” that Biden had suggested lowering the size of the reconciliation package.

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“What he said is there’s going to have to be give and take on both sides. I’m not clear that he did bring forth a specific number,” said Sanders.

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDurbin says he supports .5T reconciliation bill price tag, but he is a ‘realist’ Sunday shows preview: Biden amps up involvement in talks amid tug-of-war over infrastructure Debt fight revives Democrats’ filibuster angst MORE (D-Ill.) signaled his continued support for the whole $3.5 trillion bill, though he conceded he was “realist” when it comes to the ongoing negotiations.

“Let me tell you at the outset I support the $3.5 trillion. I believe that the elements of it have been stated over and over again. They’re good for this country and they’re needed by families and by our nation,” said Durbin.

The Illinois senator did express some frustration at the negotiations.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked ‘what’s your number?’ ” said Durbin. “Every vote counts when it comes to getting to this majority, and concessions will be made. We’re certain of that.”

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Progressive Reps. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaSunday shows preview: Biden amps up involvement in talks amid tug-of-war over infrastructure Why is Biden doubling down on Trump’s nuclear expansion? Sanders, Manchin, Sinema fight proxy war in the House MORE (D-Calif.) and Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNo silver bullet for crisis at the Southern border Who’s the boss? Pelosi’s legacy sealed after kowtowing to ‘the Squad’ ‘Saturday Night Live’ targets Democrats’ stalemate in season opener MORE (D-N.Y.) both said shortening the years of funding provided for some programs could be a feasible option for compromising on the reconciliation bill.

“I think that one of the ideas that’s out there is fully fund what we can fully fund, but maybe instead of doing it for 10 years, you fully fund it for five years,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Khanna said sunset provisions could be one way that a compromise could be reached. He expressed optimism that Biden would be able to negotiate a compromise.

“The president is an honest broker. He’s going to bring all the stakeholders together, and I trust his judgment to get a compromise,” Khanna told Wallace.

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