White House officials are signaling to Congress that the time is running short for negotiations over President Biden's infrastructure and social spending packages and that they seek to close the deal quickly.
A person familiar with the White House's thinking said that while the president believes good progress has been made in negotiations, he acknowledges it is crucial to pass the bills soon, and officials are pushing members to do so.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated Thursday, "The time for negotiations is not unending, and we are eager to move forward, we are eager to deliver on what he promised to the American people." She said that the White House wasn't setting any deadlines but that "it is time to move forward with negotiations."
Earlier in the year, the White House had anticipated getting both an infrastructure spending bill and a wider social spending package passed by the end of the summer. While the Senate passed a $550 billion infrastructure bill in August, the bill has stalled in the House, where progressives are pushing also to get a $3.5 trillion bill through that would fund a range of social programs.
As his legislative priorities hung in the balance, Biden went to the Capitol earlier this month to meet with House Democrats and rally support for his economic agenda. After being greeted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her top deputies, the president spoke to a full Democratic caucus meeting, acknowledging both measures would have to be linked to pass.
“I’m telling you, we’re going to get this done,” he told reporters as he left the Capitol. “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six minutes, six days or six weeks, we’re going to get it done.”
Pelosi had told centrist Democrats the chamber would pass the infrastructure plan immediately. Democratic leaders pushed the vote as progressives threatened to sink the bill until they get assurances the Senate will approve a broader plan to invest in party priorities including climate policy, household tax credits and health-care expansion.
Biden told House Democrats that in order to find a compromise with centrist senators, they may have to agree to a final bill that costs from $1.9 trillion to $2.3 trillion, down from a proposed $3.5 trillion cost, NBC News reported at the time, citing multiple sources in the room.