Next hurdle for social infrastructure spending: Progressives vs. moderates

WDHN D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats are resetting the clock to pass President Joe Biden’ traditional and social infrastructure spending plans, with progressives and moderates within the party now disagreeing about what the second package will cover and how much to spend.

The White House is steering clear of setting an exact deadline, but Democrats in Congress said over the weekend that they want to pass both by the end of the month.

“I think the American people are looking for us to come up with effective ways to help them in their daily lives,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

But with divisions within the party, it could be a bumpy road to Oct. 31. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the head of the Progressive Caucus, said her members will not accept moderates’ proposed $1.5 trillion framework for the social spending package.

“What we’ve said from the beginning is it’s never been about the price tag. It’s about what we want to deliver,” she said on “State of the Union.”

She said the plan must tackle key social issues ranging from child care to paid leave to climate change.

“How do we get all those things in, but perhaps for a shorter period of time, and be able to get then to the number from that,” Jayapal said.

Biden needs every Democrat in the Senate and House on board to pass both plans.

Republicans remain staunchly opposed, particularly to the social infrastructure bill, with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., saying his party will not help Democrats more spending that it deems reckless.

“Every Republican is united against it,” Barrasso told “Fox News Sunday.”

Republicans also say they won’t help Democrats, who hold both chambers of Congress, raise the debt ceiling, last week blocking an attempt from Democrats to do so. The U.S. Department of the Treasury says it will run out of money Oct. 18; if that happens, the federal government will default on debts. Treasury officials have warned for weeks that inaction from Congress could cause serious damage to the economy.

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