Biden Says ‘Everyone Is Frustrated’ As Agenda Stalls In Congress Amid Dem Division
President Biden told reporters on Saturday that “everyone is frustrated” after two huge bills in Congress were blocked, as well as an increase in the debt limit, amid infighting between a divided Democratic caucus .
“Everyone is frustrated, it’s part of being in government, of being frustrated,” Biden told reporters on the White House lawn.
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Biden spoke to reporters on his way to Delaware for the weekend after left-wing Democrats decided to defeat the passage of a bipartisan $ 1,000 billion bill on infrastructure if it were passed before a separate $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill filled with left-wing priorities. social spending and climate change, as well as significant tax increases for the richest Americans.
The latter bill would have been brought forward using the budget reconciliation process, meaning it would only need 50 votes in the Senate, and therefore avoid Republican obstruction. However, each of the Senate’s 50 Democrats would have to be on board.
That unit looked questionable this week amid objections to the sky-high price tag from moderate Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., And Joe Manchin, W-Va., Looking to push the price down. Without their support, the legislation is likely dead when it came to the Senate, as the bill is not designed to garner the support of Republicans.
But Progressive Democrats refused to support the infrastructure bill until there is agreement on the massive reconciliation package, meaning it wouldn’t have the votes to pass the House. .
The booming bills was the latest sign of the political struggles Democrats face with a 50-50 Senate and an extremely slim majority in the House.
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“Although great progress has been made in negotiations to craft an agreement between the House, Senate and White House on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task,” wrote the president of House Nancy Pelosi in a letter to House Dems, referring to the $ 3.5 trillion bill. “Our priority of creating jobs in the areas of health, family and the climate is a shared value. Our Chairs always work for clarity and consensus. Obviously, the bipartisan infrastructure bill will be passed once we get agreement on the reconciliation bill. “
Biden met Democrats on Capitol Hill on Friday in what Fox News said was an effort to bring down the temperature between the two wings. Biden reportedly told Democrats they did not have the votes to pass the infrastructure bill.
On Saturday, Biden vowed to “work like hell” to pass the bills.
“I support them both. And I think we can do them both,” he said.
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On Saturday, the White House also released a statement saying that Biden walked out of a meeting with the Democrats in the caucus on Friday “with the firm belief that there was a shared commitment of the entire Democratic caucus to serving the American people.”
“The president and his team will continue to be in close contact with members of the House and Senate throughout the weekend,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “And he looks forward not only to welcoming MPs to the White House next week, but also to travel the country to defend his bold and ambitious agenda.
Separately, Democrats are scrambling to raise the debt ceiling, as the country’s debt continues to rise amid a massive spending spree in Washington, and faces an Oct. 18 deadline for the to do. Biden said on Saturday that failure by Republicans to agree to lift the limit would be “unacceptable.”
“Well, I hope the Republicans aren’t irresponsible enough to refuse to raise the debt ceiling – that would be totally unreasonable,” Biden said.
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But Republicans have targeted Democrats for “failing” in their legislative efforts.
“It’s official. The Democrats have failed,” Republican Review Committee chairman Jim Banks, R-Va., Said in a statement.
“This week their chance was to push through an infrastructure deal and a massive spending bill through reconciliation and they couldn’t do it because their party was taken over by radicals.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Kyle Morris contributed to this report.