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Pelosi Vows to Pass $1T Bill           09/27 06:09

   With President Joe Biden's broad domestic agenda at risk of collapse, House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday vowed that Democrats will pass a bipartisan 
infrastructure bill this week and push ahead on the bigger $3.5 trillion social 
safety net and climate change bill while acknowledging the total amount will 
drop.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- With President Joe Biden's broad domestic agenda at risk 
of collapse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday vowed that Democrats will 
pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill this week and push ahead on the bigger 
$3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change bill while acknowledging the 
total amount will drop.

   Biden spoke with lawmakers over the weekend on the path forward, according 
to a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss the private 
conversations. Extensive work was being done behind the scenes to shore up 
support.

   When asked Sunday if Pelosi had the votes to pass the $1 trillion 
infrastructure bill, Biden told reporters at the White House, "It's going to 
take the better part of this week."

   Pelosi had originally pledged to House moderates a vote on the 
infrastructure legislation by Monday, but she said Sunday in a letter to 
colleagues that vote will now be Thursday. With Democratic divisions, the extra 
time allowed space for negotiations on the broader bill, so both bills could 
advance. The $1 trillion infrastructure plan passed the Senate last month.

   "Let me just say that we're going to pass the bill this week," Pelosi, 
D-Calif., said earlier Sunday on ABC's "This Week." She added: "I'm never 
bringing a bill to the floor that doesn't have the votes. You cannot choose the 
date. You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will."

   Still, in a delicate balancing act aimed at achieving the near Democratic 
unanimity needed to push the sprawling package through, Pelosi made clear that 
Biden's proposed $3.5 trillion for social spending and climate initiatives will 
need to be trimmed.

   Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have said 
they won't support a bill of that size. Manchin has previously proposed 
spending of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, an amount that progressives have 
called unacceptable for a bill they originally envisioned at $6 trillion.

   Asked on ABC if she agrees the final number on the so-called reconciliation 
bill will be "somewhat smaller" than $3.5 trillion, Pelosi responded: "That 
seems self-evident."

   "We'll see how the number comes down and what we need," she added. "Again, 
the Senate and the House, those who are not in full agreement with the 
president, right, let's see what our values -- let's not talk about numbers and 
dollars. Let's talk about values."

   "I think even those who want a smaller number, support the vision of the 
president, and this is really transformative."

   Her comments reflected the enormous stakes for the coming week, one that 
could define the Biden presidency and shape the political contours of next 
year's midterm elections.

   Along with personal phone calls from the president, several Cabinet 
officials, senior staff and others were reaching out to lawmakers over the 
weekend, the White House official said.

   Democrats have few votes to spare in the House and no votes to spare in the 
50-50 Senate if there is no Republican support to enact Biden's massive "Build 
Back Better" agenda. Republicans are lockstep against the larger measure.

   Biden, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have led a 
behind-the-scenes hunt for compromises to resolve internal divisions and, they 
hope, allow approval of the mammoth bill soon.

   The House Budget Committee on Saturday advanced a $3.5 trillion, 10-year 
bill strengthening social safety net and climate programs, though one Democrat 
voted "no," illustrating the challenges party leaders face. The bill, which is 
certain to be revised before House voting, would be paid for with taxes on 
corporations and the wealthy.

   Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., who led a group of House moderates in pushing 
a quick vote by Monday on the infrastructure bill, said Sunday he wouldn't be 
bothered by a slight delay. He was optimistic both pieces of legislation could 
be resolved this week.

   "If the vote -- the way these things work, if you start debating it and it 
rolls over to Tuesday, ... I think we're all reasonable people," Gottheimer 
said. "There's too much on the line here for our country."

   In setting Thursday's vote, Pelosi noted it's also the deadline for related 
transportation programs, many of which are in the infrastructure bill.

   Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who heads the Congressional Progressive 
Caucus, said members of her group won't be willing to support the 
infrastructure plan until there is "ironclad" agreement in the House and Senate 
on the reconciliation bill. She didn't rule out additional cuts to the $3.5 
trillion proposal to reach agreement.

   "If somebody wants to take something out, we need to hear what that is," she 
said.

   Pelosi didn't commit when asked on ABC about a vote this week on the social 
spending and climate bill, which Democrats intend to pass with a simple 
majority without GOP support. She suggested that House-Senate agreement could 
be reached this week, depending on rulings from the Senate parliamentarian on 
what provisions could be included.

   "We are ready on our side," Pelosi said. "We just have to see how quickly 
the parliamentarian can operate."

   The overall bill embodies the crux of Biden's top domestic goals, with 
billions for rebuilding infrastructure, tackling climate change and expanding 
or introducing a range of services, from free prekindergarten to dental, vision 
and hearing aid care for seniors.

   But there are broad disputes on paying for the legislation as well as over 
which initiatives should be reshaped, among them expanded Medicare, tax breaks 
for children and health care, a push toward cleaner energy and higher levies on 
the rich and corporations.

   Republicans say the proposal is unneeded, unaffordable amid accumulated 
federal debt exceeding $28 trillion and reflects Democrats' drive to insert 
government into people's lives. Its tax boosts will cost jobs and include 
credits for buying electric vehicles, purchases often made by people with 
comfortable incomes, they said.

   Gottheimer spoke to CNN's "State of the Union," and Jayapal appeared on CBS' 
"Face the Nation."

 
 
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