Democratic, Moderate and Progressive leaders visited the White House at a critical time for the Biden agenda


In a series of meetings starting mid-afternoon, Biden – a 36-year-old Capitol Hill veteran – will use his Senate experience as he seeks to align his party as the future of his top priorities hangs in the balance. Game. . The meetings mark his most extensive in-person engagement with members of Congress in his presidency and underscore how well the White House views the coming days.
It comes as Democratic leaders grapple with real and intractable divisions over key aspects of Biden’s efforts to transform the social safety net. Progressives have maintained they will not vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was passed by the Senate in August, until the broader $ 3.5 trillion economic agenda is passed.

But key disagreements remain, including major divisions over taxes, healthcare and the overall price of the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has vowed to moderate a vote on the bipartisan bill on the House floor by September 27 and, with a small margin of error, it is not clear if he will have the votes to pass.

The group also faces another crucial set of deadlines. The House on Tuesday voted in party favor to pass a bill to finance the government and raise the debt ceiling. This measure is now going to the Senate, where there is no indication Democrats can get 10 Republican votes to pass this bill before the September 30 closing deadline, setting up a showdown in the face of the crisis. impending debt.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has sternly warned that “failure to raise the debt ceiling would lead to widespread economic catastrophe” if Congress does not act, action is not taken until mid-October.

The groups that come to the White House represent a core set of ideologies and factions that Biden must attempt to bridge. He will first meet with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from New York.

Later in the afternoon, he will meet with a group of moderates in the House and Senate, including the Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Mark Warner from Virginia, Jon Tester from Montana, Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and representatives Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey, Stephanie Murphy from Florida, Steven Horsford from Nevada and Suzan DelBene from Washington.

Manchin and Sinema are key moderate voices in the Senate. The two met with Biden last week and vocally requested that the overall price of the broad economy program be drastically reduced. Gottheimer, meanwhile, is among those in the House who are firmly committed to pushing for a vote on the bipartisan package before the promised deadline on Monday.

In another round of meetings, Biden will meet with leading progressives, including Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington. , and representatives. Pramila Jayapal from Washington, Mark Pocan from Wisconsin, Jim McGovern from Massachusetts and Barbara Lee from California.

Jayapal has unequivocally stated that she and her caucus would vote against the bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package next week if the $ 3.5 trillion social safety net bill was not not ready. She doubled down on Tuesday in a private meeting with Pelosi.

Democratic leaders and White House officials, however, agree that now is the time to unite and push through. Keeping what has been promised is politically and politically paramount ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.

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