Congressional Democrats and the White House have reached an agreement on a “framework” to pay for a massive social welfare spending package, party leaders said Thursday.
But they have no deal on how much they’ll spend on the legislation, which initially came with a $3.5 trillion price tag that some party centrists say is too high.
“The revenue side of this, we have an agreement on a framework,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Thursday.
The New York Democrat has been working to corral lawmakers in his party to agree to the terms of a $3.5 trillion social welfare spending package that has stalled over objections from centrists.
Democrats plan to use tax increases on corporations to pay for at least part of the bill, but some centrist party lawmakers disagree with some of the new taxes. That appears to be settled, according to Schumer, who did not provide details.
Pelosi said the House Budget Committee will advance a bill “in a timely fashion” and that the revenue plan Democrats have agreed to “can cover the proposal the president put forth to build back better, his vision for the country.”
Lawmakers are racing to show at least the framework of an agreement by next week, when House Democrats plan to take up a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that liberals say they won’t vote for unless the social welfare bill passes ahead of it.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who appeared alongside Schumer, told reporters the Democrats “have made great progress” toward a final deal on the social welfare package, but they have not written the bill, she said.
Lawmakers, she said, are determining “what is affordable, what is effective, and what gets the best results” out of an array of “so many good provisions.”
The bill aims to pay for a new package of government programs, including free community college, free preschool, paid family and medical leave, expanded Medicare benefits, and an extension of child tax credits, among many other provisions.
Pelosi declined to give details on the forthcoming agreement.
“The House, the Senate, and the White House came to an agreement on how we can go forward in a way to pay for this, Pelosi said. “This was great progress.”
Pelosi downplayed the “price tag” and said the party is focused on “what’s in the bill.”
Democrats disagree on how much to spend.
Two Senate centrists, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, said they won’t vote for a bill that spends $3.5 trillion and are seeking to lower the cost.
Their opposition means Democrats cannot pass the measure in the evenly split Senate, where the party planned to use a budgetary tactic to advance the bill with a simple majority.
The announcement from Schumer and Pelosi comes a day after President Joe Biden met with Senate centrists and liberals, seeking to broker a deal on cost, scope, and revenue.
Pelosi wouldn’t say how much the bill might end up costing, and she would not promise the House will remain on schedule to take up the infrastructure measure next week.
“We take it one day at a time,” Pelosi said. “I’m confident we will pass both bills.”
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Original Author: Susan Ferrechio
Original Location: Democrats say they have a deal on tax increases