Biden sat down with Chuck Schumer, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, at his Delaware home to discuss how they can resolve the dispute between progressives and centrists that has stalled the Democrats’ wide-ranging bill. The Associated Press was informed by a person who asked not to be identified that Manchin is open to the White House's revised approach to tax proposals.
A $3.5 trillion package was once being considered. Now, it is being proposed as a $1.75 trillion package. According to another person, this is within an acceptable range. However, it could rise significantly higher.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, stated that Biden's signature domestic effort would surpass any other legislative package, even at half the $3.5 trillion originally proposed. She also said that it would be more than any other legislation with large investments in child care, health care, and strategies to combat climate change.
Pelosi stated Sunday that "it is less than what was initially projected, but it's still larger than anything we've ever done in terms of addressing the need of America's workers families," on CNN's "State of the Union".
Democrats are working hard to finish talks on the measure in order for President Obama to highlight his achievements at the two international summits on climate change and the economy that will be held this week.
After Democrats missed the deadline last week to resolve disputes, Biden met Schumer and Manchin at the president's Wilmington home. Biden stated that he would like to see a package of $2 trillion and they will try again this week to reach an agreement.
According to the anonymous person who asked for anonymity to discuss Manchin’s position, it is not clear what level Manchin would support. However, he supports the White House proposals. The negotiations were not authorized to be discussed by the anonymous requester.
According to the White House, the breakfast meeting was a productive discussion about the president's agenda. Although the talks lasted for several hours, no decisions were made. In its post-meeting statement, the White House stated that Democrats "continued making progress".
As Democrats insist that the new spending will be paid for entirely by taxes, it is crucial to resolve the revenue issue.
Biden's proposal was almost stopped by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, and Sen. Kyrsten Manchin. Biden is facing stiff opposition from the Republican Party and a 50-50 Senate. The two Democratic senators insist on reducing the massive package's size and pressing for other changes.
After Sinema rejected a plan to reverse Republican-led 2017 tax cuts, raise rates for corporations earning more that $5 million per year, and rich Americans earning more $400,000 or more, Sinema's proposal to increase taxes to pay for the package has been a key issue.
The White House is instead considering a tax on billionaires' investment incomes -- less than 1,000 Americans with assets of at least $1billion. The White House also proposed a 15% corporate minimum income tax, which is intended to make sure all companies pay what Biden calls "fair share". This would end the practice of big-name companies not paying taxes.
In the beginning, Democrats had hoped that Biden's package would include $3.5 trillion in spending and tax reforms over a period of 10 years. However, moderates Sinema and Manchin demanded that the package be priced lower than $2 trillion to limit costs.
There are still disputes over large-scale investments. These include plans to increase Medicare coverage for seniors with vision, hearing, and dental benefits; child care assistance; as well as plans to provide free pre-kindergarten.
Pelosi, D.Calif., stated on CNN that Democrats are still working to preserve provisions for four weeks paid family leave, but also acknowledged that it could be more difficult to save money by expanding Medicare to include dental coverage.
Pelosi stated that 90% of the work is complete and she expects an agreement by the week's end. This will allow for the House to vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill prior to next Sunday, Oct. 31 when a number of transportation programs will expire. Over the summer, the Senate approved the package of road, broadband, and other public works projects. However, the House stalled the measure during deliberations about the larger Biden bill.
Manchin, a state with a large coal industry, has rejected Biden's original climate change proposals. This included a plan that would penalize utilities for not switching to clean energy quickly. To meet Biden's goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gases emissions by 50% by 2030, Democrats are also compiling climate change strategies.
Democrats hoped Biden would highlight major achievements at a conference on climate change in Scotland in November, after he attended a summit of world leaders held in Rome.
Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent senator who caucuses alongside Democrats, stated that the expected cuts in the clean energy provisions in this spending bill were particularly disappointing.
King stated on NBC's Meet the Press that "if we want to get the rest the world to take serious measures to fix this problem, then we have to do it ourselves."
Pelosi claimed that Democrats had crafted other policies to reduce emissions in the spending bill. She said, "We will have something which will meet the president’s goals."
Democrats want to see progress that can help Terry McAuliffe win a tight Nov. 2 gubernatorial race in Virginia.
Rep. Ro Khanna is a member the Congressional Progressive Caucus and stated that his caucus would not budge on supporting infrastructure legislation before Oct. 31, if there was no agreement on the broader package. This would be passed using so-called budget reconciliation rules.
Khanna, D.Calif. said that the president must sign a reconciliation agreement in order to travel to Glasgow. "I am confident that we will reach an agreement."