Joe Biden spoke to Democratic leaders in Congress to defend his ambitious agenda.


US President Seeks to Advance Two Massive Infrastructure and Social Security Bills.

Democrats expressed some optimism Tuesday after intense negotiations with President Joe Biden to salvage his multi-million dollar congressional agenda from internal party disputes.

Two huge bills are at stake: a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package and an even bigger second proposal to expand the social safety net.

Biden hopes these will be the centerpiece of his legacy to the country. Still, infighting between moderate Democrats, who resist the amounts, and the progressive left-wing, which pushes further, threaten to leave him empty-handed.

On Tuesday, the president held conversation after conversation at the White House with representatives from both sides of the debate. On Wednesday, the president will go to Scranton, the working-class city of Pennsylvania where he was born, to promote his plans in a speech.

"Today, he has spent practically, literally, every minute of his day meeting with members of Congress, and I think that is a reflection of the urgency he feels, " said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

The intensified efforts appeared to be producing at least some movement after weeks of stagnation.

"We are feeling good," Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, leader of the progressive faction in the House of Representatives, told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Biden at the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also showed an optimistic note after lunch with his fellow Democrats, assuring that there was "universal agreement" to reach a deal and that it should come "this week." "The pace has accelerated; the desire to get it done is strong," he told reporters.

Biden counteroffer

Biden had initially been pushed for a $ 3.5 trillion social spending bill, expanding free education, child care, and other parts of the White House's human infrastructure.

That has been too much for the moderate Democrats, led by Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. His opposition alone is enough to sink Biden's initiative into a Senate where Democrats need every one of their votes for any industry to pass.

Manchin, along with Sinema, also received a visit from Biden on Tuesday, suggesting a total of no more than $ 1.5 trillion for social spending.

Jayapal said after their meeting that Biden's counteroffer is $ 1.9 to $ 2.2 trillion. " That's what he's working on having everyone on board for, " said the congresswoman.

Democrats generally agree to use their rare, if vulnerable, control of both houses of Congress and the presidency to pass essential laws while they can.

Midterm legislative elections in just over a year could see them lose majorities in one or both houses to Republicans.

But with Manchin blocking the most significant bill so far, the progressive faction in the House of Representatives has responded by stopping the passage of the separate infrastructure bill in turn. So that leaves Biden and his group with the possibility of being left with nothing.

However, Psaki was optimistic. "Our goal is to make progress and based on our expectations for the morning meetings and the afternoon meetings, we expect that to be the case," he said. We have months to consider, to debate, to take legal action.