Nine members of the far-left House Progressive Caucus emerged from an almost two-hour meeting with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaking hopefully of progress though had few details to point to.
“We are feeling good,” caucus leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told reporters. “I think the president has been working incredibly hard to get everybody to a place where we can move this forward and finish this process so that we can start on whatever is the next important thing that we need to do.”
Congress initially passed a $3.5 trillion framework for the social spending bill, which progressives meant to fund various social safety net programs and federal response to the influence of climate change. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have opposed that level of spending, urging their Democratic colleagues to scale back their ambitions.
Jayapal announced Tuesday that Biden had set his sights on a top-line spending number of between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion, the same numbers he reportedly gave the progressive caucus when he convened with his members earlier this month.
“Look, it’s not the number that we want,” she stated. “We have consistently tried to make it as high as possible. But at the end of the day, the idea that we can do these programs, a multitude of programs, and actually get them going so that they deliver immediate transformational benefits to people is what we’re focused on.”
“The president is the inspirer, he is the closer, he is the convincer, the mediator-in-chief,” Jayapal told reporters outside the White House. “He really is doing a phenomenal job.”5
Climate change is the latest matter that threatens to subvert the measure after Manchin objected to a proposal that Washington dole out financial rewards to electric utilities that satisfy specific clean energy benchmarks and impose penalties on utilities that don’t. The effort would have been part of Biden’s drive for the US to generate 80 percent of its electricity from “clean” sources by 2030.
Manchin has further come out against a carbon tax, telling reporters it was “not on the board at all right now.”