Biden doesn't take sides, touts infrastructure bill and reconciliation, as House Dems try to reach deal

Sen. Tuberville doesn’t think Dems have enough votes to pass spending bill

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on spending, the debt ceiling, the reconciliation package, the IRS and the Biden administration’s actions in Afghanistan. 

As Democrats enter a key phase of negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure bill and their reconciliation package, the White House is circulating a memo touting the popularity of both plans, which add up to about $4.7 trillion in government spending. 

"This week we can nail down two huge wins for the American people… with the Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure deal," the memo says. "Poll after poll after poll are clear: the American people overwhelmingly support this agenda and want these to get done."

As negotiations in Congress over how to pass the two massive pieces of legislation at times descended into sniping among Democrats, the White House has tried to stay above the fray. Instead of siding with progressives who called for weeks for Congress to pass the reconciliation bill before touching infrastructure – or moderates who demanded the exact opposite – the White House hasn't opined and instead simply extolled the virtues of both.

President Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, 2021 at U.N. headquarters in New York City. Congress is up against a Thursday deadline to come to a deal on Biden’s economic agenda. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary-P ((Photo by Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images) / Getty Images)


With just days until the Thursday deadline House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., set to vote on the infrastructure bill, the Monday memo continues that pattern. 

"T]he evidence is overwhelming that the wind is at our backs and the public is eager for both of these packages to become law," the memo says.

"After years of neglect and broken promises, Americans know that now is the time to make historic investments in our infrastructure that will build roads and bridges, improve ports and airports, and ensure every American has access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet," the memo says of the infrastructure bill. 

Regarding the reconciliation bill, the memo says that Americans "know that we can’t just return to where we were before the pandemic – we need to Build Back Better with investments in jobs, economic competitiveness, and confront the existential threat of climate change." 

The memo cites polling from several organizations. This includes a Fox News poll that shows 56% of the public in favor of the bill and 39% against. A Fox News poll from last month meanwhile registered 62% support for the infrastructure bill and 30% opposition. 

The House will begin debate on the infrastructure bill Monday evening with the aim of voting on it by Thursday. This could give Pelosi time to negotiate a deal on reconciliation between moderates and progressives. If Democrats can strike a deal before then it could enable House progressives to vote for the infrastructure bill before reconciliation. 


But there's still a long way to go. And despite a White House statement that Biden will "continue to engage with members of Congress" to push forward on both bills, Politico reported that some moderate Democrats think Biden isn't enough to whip Democrats to vote for the infrastructure bill. 

Instead, the president and his team Monday continue to push for both bills and leave the "how" up to members of Congress. 

"Both elements of the President’s economic agenda are enormously popular with Democrats nationally and with all voters in key states," the Monday memo said, highlighting poll numbers in states including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and more. 

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