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AP: Quarreling Dems must put aside differences, Schumer warns

By Lisa Mascaro

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Washington, D.C., October 14, 2021 | comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned fellow Democrats on Thursday they “must put aside our differences” as the party struggles to coalesce around President Joe Biden’s huge but now-scaled-back package of social services and climate change strategies.

Schumer’s letter to colleagues comes as progressive leaders in Congress are steering them away from what the progressives call a “false choice” over what to keep or cut as Democrats labor to trim what had been a $3.5 trillion proposal to about $2 trillion...

...Despite the rising ranks of progressives in the House, Pelosi has appeared to side with some of the more centrist lawmakers, who are among those most at risk of losing their seats, and the party’s slim hold on the majority, in next year’s midterm elections.

“Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from members is to do fewer things well,” Pelosi said in her own letter this week to colleagues.

The moderate lawmakers have argued that it would better to narrow the scope of the legislation and make any changes more lasting.

Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington state, chair of the New Democrat Coalition, made that case during a meeting of moderate lawmakers last month at the White House.

The group has focused on just a few main priorities, including two that emerged in the COVID-19 aid packages — extending the child tax credits that are funneling about $300 a month to most families but expire in December, and making permanent the higher health care subsidies that were offered during the pandemic to those who buy their insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Those moderates also want to expand the ACA into states, largely those run by Republican governors, that have rejected it under previous federal funding proposals.

Time is growing short for the president on his signature domestic policy initiative, which has consumed much of his fitful first year in office.

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