Biden to Meet With Democrats on Pushing His Economic Agenda

The president will meet with Democratic leaders and lawmakers from both chambers as he seeks to advance trillions of dollars in spending.

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Biden is set to meet with Democrats as his economic agenda hangs in the balance.

President Biden is expected to meet with Democratic lawmakers to discuss the two bills that are major components of his economic agenda.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Sept. 22, 2021, 8:12 a.m. ET

President Biden is expected to host a series of meetings on Wednesday with Democratic lawmakers, including party leaders, as he works to keep his party united around his $4 trillion economic agenda and iron out deep divisions over his policy proposals.

He is expected to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, as well as lawmakers from across the ideological range of his caucus, according to people familiar with the plans, who disclosed them on condition of anonymity.

The flurry of meetings comes as both pieces of his economic agenda — a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a second, expansive $3.5 trillion economic package that supporters intend to push through with only Democratic votes — appear imperiled as moderate and liberal Democrats jockey for leverage in a narrowly divided Congress.

Liberal Democrats remain adamant that a majority of their ranks will block a planned Sept. 27 vote on the infrastructure bill, which cleared the Senate earlier this year, until the $3.5 trillion package first passes the upper chamber through the fast-track reconciliation process.

For weeks, those in that wing of the party have insisted that their support for the infrastructure package is contingent on the scope and success of the larger package, which carries most of their ambitions but needs the backing of virtually every Democrat in Congress to avoid a Republican filibuster and get it to Mr. Biden’s desk.

As the potential stalemate brewed, Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, emerged from a 90-minute meeting with Ms. Pelosi on Tuesday. Ms. Jayapal said she had requested the meeting to reiterate that “we need to be absolutely sure it is passed in the Senate, and so that’s still our position.”

But moderates, who pushed House Democratic leaders to set the Sept. 27 vote for the infrastructure legislation, remained confident that their liberal counterparts would ultimately support the package. The far more expansive economic package has not been completed, with Democrats haggling over the scope and structure of the plan.

“This is critically important to the White House,” said Representative Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat and one of the moderates who pushed for that commitment. “I’m optimistic we’ll not only get it to the floor, but we’ll get the votes.”

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