The president told the White House he was confident the Democrats would eventually come to a deal and sign the $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package as well as the $ 3.5 trillion package. to extend the country’s social safety net.
“Now we are in this stalemate for the moment and we are going to have to pass these two laws. Both must be adopted, ”Biden told reporters on Friday.
But the way forward for the two pieces of legislation remains uncertain. But moderates and progressives are currently entrenched in their positions at this critical juncture in the negotiations, leaving Biden’s agenda hanging.
“It’s a process and it’s going to be top to bottom,” Biden said.
Biden spent nearly four and a half hours meeting with several key Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday in an attempt to work out the details of the $ 3.5 trillion economic package. On Friday, he sought to set an optimistic tone about the progress made in those negotiations.
“Both meetings went very well. I mean, it was, it was – they were collegiate. No one is screaming. Everyone, you know – and people hang around in the Oval – and both progressives and moderates anyway, ”Biden said.
“One of the things I think it’s important for – and I’m trying to get people to focus – is that you like it? What do you think we should – forget a number – what do you think we should do? Biden added.
Biden suggested that some moderate Democrats were listing priorities that amounted to more than what they said they were willing to spend.
“We come to, you know, the hard point here. Now people have to come in and look in detail at what they are specifically for, ”Biden said.
Biden admitted that natural disasters last month hampered his plans to sell his economic plan to the public.
« Part of the problem is that I had hoped – I hadn’t planned, although I had somehow anticipated what might happen – I hadn’t anticipated the 178 mph winds of the hurricane entering Louisiana and 20 inches of rain in New York and New Jersey and areas as large as the state of New Jersey that are burning in the West, ”he said.
Democratic House leaders have pledged to vote on Sept. 27 on the bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package, and progressives have threatened to sink that vote if the $ 3.5 trillion package does not is not ready to move, too. But this bigger package is far from ready to move just yet.
Covid-19 recall shots
Biden also spoke on Friday about the next phase of his administration’s plan to fight the Covid-19 pandemic after the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations on booster injections for millions of people. Vulnerable Americans.
“We have the tools to beat Covid – Covid-19 – if we come together as a country and use the tools we have,” Biden said.
He added: “I made it clear throughout the decision which booster to give, when to start the injection and who will get it is left to scientists and doctors. This is what happened here. “
Biden said he would receive his recall, as the White House had previously confirmed.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky endorsed several recommendations made by the agency’s independent vaccine advisers, but also partially deviated from the recalls committee recommendations.
Specifically, Walensky broke with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices when she recommended booster shots for Americans aged 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of Covid-19 because of their workplace or of their institutional environment, such as health workers, caregivers for fragile or immunocompromised people. people, people in homeless shelters and people in correctional facilities. Committee members voted 9-6 against the recommendation of boosters for this group of Americans.
Walensky endorsed other recommendations from the vaccine advisers, including recommending recalls for people 65 years of age and older and residents of long-term care facilities who received the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 series of vaccines ago. is at least 6 months old, and people aged 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
The CDC also approved the recommendation of vaccine advisers that people between the ages of 18 and 49 with underlying health conditions can be boosted based on their individual benefits and risks.
The CDC’s announcement came after the United States Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday granted emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in people 65 years of age and older.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Biden and background information.