Biden said that it was great to return home as he left the building, where he served 36 years as a Delaware senator. It is wonderful to be with my coworkers, and I believe we will get a lot accomplished."
He met with legislators for the first time since he became president in the midday session. It lasted less than an hour.
This closed-door meeting was also his first step in securing support for legislation that reflects his priorities.
Top Democrats reached an agreement late Tuesday on spending a staggering $3.5 trillion on domestic programs over the next decade. Biden proposed funding the expansion with tax increases on the wealthy and large corporations. The proposal includes a top priority for progressives: an expansion of Medicare, the Medicare health insurance program for older Americans to include vision and dental coverage.
The Democrats' plans, although most of them are still in development, fall short of bolder progressive goals like expanding Medicare coverage to all age groups. Biden and his party leaders have to win over moderates who are wary of tax increases and ballooning budget deficits. Progressives demand more spending.
"We are aware that the road ahead will be difficult. There will be bumps in the road," Chuck Schumer, New York's Senate Majority Leader, acknowledged Wednesday. He said that Democrats would continue to push forward because "we must make the average American's lives better."
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin did not say Wednesday that he would support all of the policies that Biden or top Democrats pursue, underscoring the political complexity. Manchin, one the more conservative Democrats in the chamber, said that he has not seen all of it yet.
Republicans could oppose the effort unanimity, criticizing its cost and potential tax increases. Democrats will need the support of all 50-50 Senate members and may lose only three House seats.
A bipartisan group composed of senators from both parties is currently working on a similar measure. It would cost approximately $1 trillion, including $579 billion in new spending, and it would be used to fund roads, water systems, and other traditional infrastructure projects. This is another priority for Biden. Biden and the group had already agreed to an outline of the measure last month. Negotiators are hoping to draft a compromise bill in the coming days.
The infrastructure and social programs packages are a little short of the $4.5 trillion Biden proposed to help families and communities in every corner of America. Some of the increases Biden proposed must be halted or reduced.
The Democrats want to pass a budget resolution that reflects Tuesday's agreement through both the House and Senate before lawmakers go on their August recess. The Democrats would be able to pass a budget that funds the party's priorities using only 50 votes and Vice President Kamala's tiebreaking vote in Senate. This is not the 60 votes Republicans might otherwise need with a filibuster.
Most likely, the actual spending legislation will not move through Congress before fall.
Biden will host bipartisan governors, mayors, and other officials at the White House on Wednesday to push for public support for his infrastructure plan. Biden will emphasize the bipartisan nature of his proposal as senators finish details for Thursday's deadline.
He will highlight areas where Democrats as well as Republicans are in agreement, such as investments in removing lead pipes and expanding high-speed Internet access, improving transit, and rebuilding roads, bridges, and other areas. According to an administration official, Biden will also discuss the effects of his policies on local communities. This information was shared with the AP under anonymity.
When asked by reporters if they had the support all 50 Democratic senators, Schumer and the other legislators did not reply to the question.
I-Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. was the Budget Committee Chairman and other progressives initially pushed for a $6 trillion budget top-line, while party moderates demanded a much lower price tag. Biden had suggested a budget top line of $4.5 trillion.
Many questions remained about Tuesday's announcement by the Democrats regarding their budget agreement. It was unclear how much it would raise via tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, as well as how much would go to specific programs and how Biden's ideas would be cut or eliminated in order to fit the legislation.
Schumer stated that the proposal would require financing Biden's priorities in the budget "in a strong way." He also indicated that it would include Medicare's hearing and dental expansions, which is a priority for Sanders.
Sanders stated that the agreement would end a period in which big corporations and rich people aren't shouldering enough of the cost of financing government programs.
He said, "Those days have passed." "The rich and large corporations will start paying their fair share of taxes so we can protect the working families in this country."
Senator Mark Warner, D-Va. was a leading moderate and helped to shape the budget package. He said that the measure would be fully funded with offset revenue but provided no details. Biden proposes increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, as well as beefing the IRS budget to collect more revenue from scofflaws.
Biden's demand for no tax increases on those earning less than $400,000 per year or small businesses will be included in the budget. A Democratic aide described the provision, insisting on anonymity in order to discuss the negotiations.
The infrastructure plan is being finalized by the lawmakers by Thursday, despite the opposition of business leaders, outside activists, and some GOP senators.