House Democrats are aiming to vote as soon as Tuesday on two spending initiatives totaling roughly $3 trillion as they seek to overcome months of delays that have ensnared President Biden’s broader economic agenda.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leadership aides informed lawmakers about the timeline in recent days, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the plans. The schedule could still change, particularly as lawmakers put the finishing touches on the $1.75 trillion initiative, which they are still crafting in the days after Biden unveiled it as a potential compromise between his party’s warring liberal and moderate lawmakers.
The plan as outlined by Biden would set aside new sums to expand Medicare to cover hearing benefits, combat climate change, offer universal and free pre-kindergarten and proffer a slew of new aid to families, with much of it financed through changes to tax laws targeting the ultrawealthy. Biden has described the package as transformational, even though it is significantly less than the $3.5 trillion that some Democrats initially envisioned.
House Democrats have tried for weeks to advance their economic priorities, particularly the infrastructure bill, which cleared the Senate on a bipartisan basis in August. But the bill has been bogged down in the House, where liberals have used it as leverage as they continue to negotiate with moderates, including Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), over the rest of Biden’s spending agenda.
Two earlier attempts in the House to bring the bill to a vote ultimately were scrapped, as lawmakers with the left-leaning Congressional Progressive Caucus maintained they would not supply their much-needed support for infrastructure spending unless they could consider in tandem the $1.75 trillion package. That prompted the chamber to adjourn for the week on Thursday, while lawmakers behind the scenes continued finalizing the latter legislation.