‘Everybody is Frustrated,’ Biden Says as His Agenda Stalls

October 2, 2021by Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller, Associated Press
‘Everybody is Frustrated,’ Biden Says as His Agenda Stalls
President Joe Biden walks over to speak with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Washington. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Delaware. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday acknowledged frustrations as Democrats strain to rescue a scaled-back version  of his $3.5 trillion government-overhaul plan and salvage a related public works bill after frantic negotiations failed to produce a deal. 

“Everybody is frustrated. That’s part of being in government,” Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for a weekend stay at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He pledged to “work like hell” to get the two pillars of his domestic agenda passed into law, but refrained from laying out a new deadline.

The president had gone to Capitol Hill on Friday for a private meeting with House Democrats that was partly a morale booster for the disjointed caucus of lawmakers. According to lawmakers in the room, he discussed a $1.9 trillion to $2 trillion-plus price tag for the larger package that would expand the country’s social safety net.

The White House and its allies in Congress are prepared for protracted negotiations. Biden said he would soon travel around the country to promote the legislation and he acknowledged concerns that the talk in Washington had become too focused on the trillions in new spending and taxes in the bill. 

He pledged to do more to educate the public about the plan’s new and expanded programs, which he contended have the support of the vast majority of the electorate.

“I’m going to try to sell what I think the American people will buy,” Biden said Saturday, adding, “I believe that when the American people are aware of what’s in it we’ll get it done.”

The president said he believed the legislation will be signed into law with “plenty of time to change the tax code for people next year.”

It’s a pivotal time for Biden and the party. His approval ratings have dropped and Democrats are restless, eager to deliver on his signature campaign promise of rebuilding the country. His ideas go beyond roads-and-bridges infrastructure to delivering dental, vision and hearing care for seniors, free prekindergarten, major efforts to tackle climate change and other investments that would touch countless American lives.

Holdout Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia had dashed hopes for a swift compromise on a framework when he refused to budge late Thursday on his demands for a smaller overall package, about $1.5 trillion.

Without a broader deal, prospects for a vote on the companion public works bill stalled out as progressives refused to commit until senators reached agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told colleagues that “more time is needed” as they shape the broader package.

The House passed a 30-day measure to keep transportation programs running during the stalemate, essentially setting a new deadline for talks, Oct. 31. The Senate was set to follow with a vote Saturday, to halt the furloughs of more than 3,500 federal transportation workers, a byproduct of the political impasse.

With Republicans solidly opposed to Biden’s sweeping vision, the president and Democrats are reaching for a giant legislative accomplishment on their own — all to be paid for by rewriting federal balance sheets  with tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, those earning more than $400,000 a year.

The larger of Biden’s proposals is a years-in-the-making collection of Democratic priorities with an ultimate price tag he says is zero, because the tax revenue would cover the spending costs.

A+
a-
  • budget reconciliation bill
  • Congress
  • infrastructure
  • Joe Biden
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Political News

    The House Passes Billions in Aid for Ukraine and Israel After Months of Struggle

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies in a rare... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies in a rare weekend session as Democrats and Republicans banded together after months of hard-right resistance over renewed American support for repelling Russia’s invasion. With an overwhelming vote Saturday, the... Read More

    April 19, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    With Trump Jury Selection Completed, Attorneys Prepare for Trial Next Week

    NEW YORK — The full contingent of jurors and alternates needed for the hush money criminal trial of former President... Read More

    NEW YORK — The full contingent of jurors and alternates needed for the hush money criminal trial of former President Donald Trump was reached Friday in a New York courtroom. The jury selection procedure ended around 1:30 p.m., about the same time a protester set himself... Read More

    April 19, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    House Advances International Aid Bills, Setting Up Final Vote on Saturday

    WASHINGTON — The House handily advanced legislation on Friday that would send military and other aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The House handily advanced legislation on Friday that would send military and other aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and the Indo-Pacific, despite rumblings among some Republicans that such a move would spell curtains for Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. The 316-94 vote on the foreign... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Jury Selected for Trump’s Trial Over Hush Money to Adult Film Star

    NEW YORK — Jury selection at former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in a New York court ended Thursday... Read More

    NEW YORK — Jury selection at former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in a New York court ended Thursday with only a few alternates needed to pass judgment on the first former president to face criminal proceedings. By the end of the day, the full... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Kennedy Family Members to Endorse Biden for President

    PHILADELPHIA — More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family are expected to endorse President Joe Biden at a... Read More

    PHILADELPHIA — More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family are expected to endorse President Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Philadelphia on Thursday, once again highlighting the rift between themselves and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose independent campaign for the White House they’ve... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Treasury Department Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran on Thursday in response to its unprecedented drone and... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran on Thursday in response to its unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel this past weekend. The sanctions, which were imposed in coordination with the United Kingdom, target Iran’s drone, auto and steel industries. The... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top