Posted by on October 12, 2021 1:02 pm
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Pelosi signals big spending package will shrink to $2 trillion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, before the House convenes to pass a short-term lift of the nation’s debt limit. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Pelosi signals big spending package will shrink to $2 trillion

Susan Ferrechio October 12, 12:49 PMOctober 12, 12:49 PM

Facing intractable opposition from party centrists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will have to “make tighter decisions” on a massive social welfare spending package that is stalled in Congress.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, acknowledged in a press conference Tuesday that the $3.5 trillion package planned by Democrats will have to shrink to about $2 trillion, telling reporters, “The fact is there are fewer dollars to spend, there are choices to be made, and the members have said let’s get the results we need, but we will not diminish the transformative nature of what it is.”

Democrats are grappling with a standoff with centrists in their own party who want to slash the price tag to as low as $1.5 trillion. President Joe Biden has pitched a compromise of roughly $2 trillion.

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She acknowledged the bill’s price tag will likely more closely match Biden’s compromise.

“We are still talking about a couple of trillion dollars,” Pelosi said. “It’s much less.”

Pelosi, in a memo to Democrats late Monday, told them caucus members are calling for a spending package that will “do fewer things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and responsibly address the climate crisis.”

House Democrats will convene Tuesday afternoon to begin consideration of unrelated legislation that will extend the nation’s borrowing limit until Dec. 3. The bill provides about $480 billion in new borrowing authority to the Treasury Department.

It’s the only action of the week. Democrats are not expected to return again until Oct. 18, when negotiations will intensify over the social welfare spending package the party hopes to pass later this month.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, set an Oct. 31 deadline to advance the package.

With no deal in sight, Pelosi was vague on the deadline.

“I’m optimistic we will get where we need to be in a timely fashion,” she said Tuesday when asked about passing the measure by the end of the month.

Pelosi suggested Democrats can slash the cost of the measure by shortening the time frame for the program funding. She would not tell reporters which programs, if any, would be cut as other caucus members had suggested, according to the Monday memo.

Democrats had hoped to fund a broad array of new government programs and assistance, including free preschool, free community college, extended child tax credits, paid family and medical leave, expanded Medicare benefits, green energy policies, and much more.

Pelosi said the child care components of the bill, including an extended tax credit and free preschool, “really go together” and are “part of meeting the same need,” along with billions of dollars for home healthcare.

Democrats face intense opposition from within their own party from centrist Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who oppose the $3.5 trillion cost.

Manchin said he won’t agree to legislation spending more than $1.5 trillion and has been unwilling to move up from that number after talks with Biden last week.

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Leading House liberals say $3 trillion is their bottom line.

Pelosi signaled that her progressive caucus will have to lower its expectations.

“I’m not asking members to vote for something that has no chance to pass in the Senate,” she said.

© 2021 Washington Examiner

Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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