White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained, “We’re in a pivotal period of our negotiations and discussions.”
Biden is hosting a series of meetings with nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers starting Wednesday. First, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Then, with groups of warring moderates and progressives. All critical players in the intraparty combat that has broken out.
“He sees his role as uniting and working to bring together people over common agreement on a path forward,” Psaki said.
It’s battle that has pushed Biden’s sweeping, dual-pronged $4 trillion domestic agenda to the brink of implosion.
The meetings marking the most intensive personal effort deployed by Biden, a 36-year Senate veteran, to date as Democrats face a legislative pileup of epic proportions less than a week from a House vote promised to moderates on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) said, “There is no one better than Speaker Pelosi at getting votes and so I am optimistic we will get it done on Monday.”
Progressives, like Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), are threatening to tank that if there’s no pathway on a $3.5 trillion economic and climate package. “Half our members, more than half our members, will not move the bipartisan bill without the reconciliation bill being passed,” Rep. Jayapal stated.
This all comes as the government barrels towards a shutdown on September 30th.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) said, “Simply put, Republicans are trying a dine-and-dash of historic proportion.”
And with unified Senate Republican opposition, there’s the looming threat of catastrophic default in October.
“The debt ceiling will be raised as it always should be, but it will be raised by the Democrats,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
The meetings mark Biden’s most expansive in-person engagement with members of Congress in his presidency and underscore how critical the White House views the coming days.