Connecting state and local government leaders
The announcement comes as President Biden is trying to shore up support within his party for sweeping domestic legislation that would direct funding towards areas like education, health care and climate initiatives.
Leading congressional Democrats said Thursday they had reached an agreement with the Biden Administration on “a framework” of options to pay for the president’s proposed $3.5 trillion social spending package.
The announcement lacked details and came as a surprise to some in the party, who questioned what was agreed to. Lawmakers have tried in recent days to resolve disagreements over spending included in the plan before the House votes next week on another key piece of legislation—a landmark infrastructure bill.
“The White House, the House and the Senate have reached an agreement on a framework that will pay for any final negotiated agreement. So the revenue side of this, we have an agreement on,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer during a joint press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
That agreement includes a menu of revenue options that can be used to cover up to $3.5 trillion in spending, Pelosi said. Not included: the specific elements of the proposal or what projects will ultimately be included in the bill.
“We did not say anything about the framework price tag. We are talking about the values contained therein,” Pelosi said, adding that she supports the $3.5 trillion cost.
The Senate began work last month on the spending measure, which includes money for an expansion of Medicare, universal preschool, and investment in climate change initiatives. In the House, centrist Democrats and liberals are facing off over the cost of the plan.
The announcement comes a day after Biden hosted a series of meetings with lawmakers from across the Democratic caucus in an attempt to build consensus among the party.
"We are writing legislation, and when you’re writing legislation, you have to be specific,” Pelosi said. "We'll get more estimates as to how much money comes in on certain things. But we know that we can cover the proposals that the president has put forth.”
While lawmakers haggle over the details, local government leaders are pushing for the passage of the separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which is set for a vote in the House as soon as Monday. Groups including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Urban League will host an event Friday to advocate for the bill’s approval.
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.