In the News

The Guardian: Joe Biden to referee Democrats in brewing battle over $3.5tn budget bill

By Joan E. Greve

f t # e
Washington, D.C., September 7, 2021 | comments

Congress will return from its summer recess later this month, and some Democrats are already gearing up for a political fight – with each other.

Democratic lawmakers are looking to pass their $3.5tn spending package, after the House and the Senate approved the blueprint for the budget bill last month. The ambitious legislation encompasses much of Joe Biden’s economic agenda, including proposals to expand access to affordable childcare, invest in climate-related initiatives and broaden Medicare coverage.

But to get the bill passed, Democrats will first need to reach an agreement on the cost of the legislation. Centrist Democrats, including Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, have expressed concern about the bill’s $3.5tn price tag, while progressives have indicated they will fiercely oppose any attempt to cut funding in the proposal.

With his entire economic agenda hanging in the balance, Biden will need to convince the two fractious wings of his party to come together and pass a comprehensive spending package. And given Democrats’ extremely narrow majorities in both the House and the Senate, there is virtually no room for error.

Despite warning signs of intra-party friction over the cost of the budget bill, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, who chairs the centrist New Democrat Coalition, said the House’s focus right now should still be on the content of the legislation.

“I think discussion of a number is more distracting when the focus really needs to be on, what is the substance going to be of this legislation?” DelBene told the Guardian. “If we have strong legislation the people support, I think we can find the path forward.”

Click here to read the full article on The Guardian.
f t # e