(PresidentialInsider.com)- Facing significant resistance from a few members of his party, President Joe Biden has scaled down plans for his “Build Back Better” spending package.
The new package, presented to Democrats earlier this week, was much more limited than the initial ambitious spending plan. It’s still worth $2 trillion, with roughly $500 billion being set aside to address climate change.
Other priorities still remain in the plan, but the details may be altered slightly from their original versions. That includes universal pre-kindergarten, child tax credits, health care and paid family leave.
It’s expected that final negotiations among Democrats could conclude sometime this week or early next.
Earlier this week, Biden met in private with a group of roughly 20 progressive and centrist lawmakers in two separate groups. He was working to try to gauge the priorities for each group, since they have been at odds for what should and shouldn’t be included in the package.
Progressives were pushing some pretty liberal packages that would have pushed the bill’s total to $3.5 trillion. Centrists want some of the initiatives cut from the bill so the total bill is much lower.
According to reports, Biden decided to go the route of cutting back on some of the bill’s initiatives. Most likely to be cut altogether or scaled back are tuition-free community colleges, a clean energy plan, and a path for immigrants to obtain legal status even if they’re in America without documentation today.
After those meetings, Biden was “more confident” about the prospect for a deal, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said. She continued:
“There was broad agreement that there is urgency in moving forward over the next several days and that the window for finalizing a package is closing.”
Democrats are scrambling to try to get something done before the end of the year, or else they risk not getting anything done in Biden’s first year in the White House regarding his ambitious economic and social plan. That could be even more catastrophe for the party as it heads into the year of the midterm elections.
The plan to pay for the massive spending package is to increase taxes on corporations as well as the wealthiest Americans who earn more than $400,000 per year.
A member of the progressive caucus, Representative Ro Khanna of California, commented that the president urged the members of Congress to “get something done now” so they can show leadership on climate change to the rest of the world. She said:
“He really believes American leadership, American prestige is on the line.”
On the flip side is moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who’s specifically opposed to the Clean Energy Performance Plan. That would’ve implemented penalties on electric utility companies that failed to meet specific clean energy benchmarks, while giving financial rewards to those companies that do.
Manchin comes from a state that produces and mines a lot of coal, so their interests don’t match up well with that energy plan.