Biden continues to push spending plan

HARTFORD, Conn. (CNN) – President Biden is promising to slash child care costs for working-class families. He visited Connecticut Friday to pitch this proposal and others. It’s part of his far-reaching spending plan to expand Medicare and offer free community college tuition.

That plan is currently in jeopardy in Washington.

The social safety net package has stalled again as moderate Democrats in the Senate disagree with progressives.

President Biden said, “Too many folks in Washington still don’t realize it isn’t just enough to invest in our physical infrastructure. We also have to invest in our people.”

He’s seeking to rally support for the critical child care component of his dual-pronged, and currently frozen, multi-trillion-dollar package.

“Both bills are not about left versus right,” Biden said. “They’re not about moderate versus progressive.”

Facing criticism for not selling his agenda, Biden used public remarks in Connecticut to press the urgency of the moment.

He said, “These bills in my view are about competitiveness versus complacency.”

Privately, top advisors have made clear they’ve grown increasingly impatient with the pace of the talks as two key moderate Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, remain on the fence.

Neither senator is committing to a topline price tag, which White House officials have sought to keep at roughly $2 trillion.

Sinema privately insisted on a vote on the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure proposal first, a non-starter for House progressives.

Manchin, sources say, has laid out a series of issues across the package from the scale of paid leave and free community college proposals to an expansion of Medicare and the coal-state Democrat is sharply opposed to many of the proposed climate measures.

Biden has spoken to both this week, according to a senior administration official, and talks remain ongoing but as the calendar ticks toward the end of the year, two critical dates are consuming Democrats: the October 31st expiration of surface transpiration funding — an unofficial deadline of sorts — and the November 2nd Virginia governor’s race where pressure is mounting to pass the infrastructure proposal with Democrats increasingly concerned inaction could have electoral consequences.

Ahead of his departure to Connecticut, Biden didn’t speak with reporters. A senior administration official indicated that the president’s ongoing avoidance of the press is to avoid saying anything that could jeopardize delicate negotiations with Congress.

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