Joe Biden made the short but important trip from the White House to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a key meeting to bolster the Senate Democrats’ $ 3.5 billion “human infrastructure” plan.
The president made an appearance at the weekly Senate Democratic Caucus political luncheon, a day after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced agreement on the spending proposal.
Biden posed with Schumer as they made corresponding air-punching resolution gestures, as Biden said, “We’re going to get there.” “
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her fellow House Democrats saying the plan says agreement on a final bill “will contain many of the top Democrats’ priorities in the House. Chamber, including transformative action on the investments needed to address the climate crisis. ”.
Pelosi added, “This budget deal is a victory for the American people, making unique historic progress for families across the country. ”
Biden joined Senate Democrats for the closed-door lunch where he solicited their support and discussed the strategy to pass both a $ 1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal to rebuild America’s roads and bridges , and the broader Democratic package which also addresses environmental measures and the need for social strengthening of services.
Republicans expressed immediate objections to the massive size of the plan, as did at least one key moderate Democrat whose support would be essential in the process.
Biden urged senators to think about how the package would affect average Americans, Senator Chris Murphy said.
* He kept telling us to think about his neighbors in Scranton, ”said Murphy, referring to Biden’s hometown of Pennsylvania. “Think about whether what we’re doing is going to convince the people he grew up with. “
An Ipsos poll conducted this month for Reuters found that most Americans want the kind of infrastructure improvements included in the Biden plan.
He also found that nearly two-thirds of the country supports raising taxes on “highest paid Americans” to pay for improvements.
Responding to reporters’ questions shouted at him as he left the meeting on Capitol Hill, Biden said, “It’s great to be home. Great to be back with my colleagues. I think we are going to do a lot of things.
Biden represented Delaware in the US Senate for more than 35 years and served as Barack Obama’s vice president for the Democrat’s two terms in the White House, before becoming president himself by defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Biden then met with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors in the White House to discuss the $ 1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure framework.
Democrats face a difficult road to get the two measures approved by a tightly divided Congress.
At least they’ll need the support of their 50 senators – as well as Kamala Harris’ decisive Senate vote – to pass the $ 3.5 billion package against the Republican opposition in the 100-seat Senate, using a maneuver. called reconciliation which can facilitate funding. related bills bypassing the normal 60-vote obstruction threshold of the House of Congress to pass a law.
While some of the more liberal Democrats said on Wednesday they hoped for a more ambitious plan, they had yet to reject the $ 3.5 billion deal.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time on the attack, saying “with inflation raging” the plan “is very, very disproportionate to the country’s current needs. “.
“With raging inflation… [the Democrats’ budget plan] is madly, madly out of proportion to what the country needs right now, ”he told reporters.