Biden focuses energy on Congress in critical week for his agenda

Biden focuses energy on Congress in critical week for his agenda
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President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE is focusing his energy on Capitol Hill this week, with Democrats set to vote on his economic agenda.

Biden has few public engagements on his schedule for the week ahead. He will get his COVID-19 booster shot on Monday and travel to Chicago on Wednesday to promote vaccine mandates for businesses.

Otherwise, he will be focused on congressional talks, including with Democratic leaders like Senate Majority Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act To Win 2022: Go big on reconciliation and invest in Latinx voters McConnell-aligned group targeting Kelly, Cortez Masto and Hassan with M ad campaign MORE (N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress is hell-bent on a spooky spending spree  Pelosi on addressing climate through reconciliation package: 'This is our moment' House progressives lay out priorities for spending negotiations MORE (Calif.).

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“Throughout the week, the President will continue to engage with members of Congress and Congressional leadership on his Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, as well as passing the Continuing Resolution, providing disaster relief, and avoiding a default,” the White House said in a statement Sunday.

Biden told reporters after getting his COVID-19 booster shot on Monday that he has meetings later in the day, as well as on Tuesday. He acknowledged Congress may not pass each agenda item by the end of the week, but expressed confidence it would get done.

"Victory is what's at stake," Biden said.

Pelosi on Sunday scheduled a Thursday vote for the $1.2 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure bill, pushing back the original Monday deadline that she had promised moderate Democrats. Progressives, however, are threatening to sink the bipartisan bill unless a $3.5 trillion spending package is already on its way to Biden's desk.

Biden has no major public events set for Thursday, suggesting much of his time that day will be focused on action at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

“He is working with Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to move both pieces of legislation forward. Democrats have been engaged in a healthy debate about how to make our economy deliver for the middle class – not just those at the top – and we now have a generational opportunity to find consensus and unity to realize our shared values,” said Andrew Bates, deputy press secretary.

The White House on Monday circulated a memo that highlighted public support in polling for Biden's economic package. The memo referenced “overwhelming” support, citing a range of polls.

“Both the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the Build Back Better Act are at the core of the President’s strategy to ensure that our economic growth is based on investing in families; not more failed giveaways to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations,” Bates said.

Biden, when he arrived at the White House on Sunday following a weekend at Camp David, said he's hopeful the House will pass his agenda this week.

“I’m optimistic about this week. It’s going to take the better part of the week,” Biden told reporters Sunday evening.

Biden met last week with progressives and moderate Democrats from both the House and Senate, though the meetings did not produce a breakthrough agreement.

Lawmakers in both chambers are returning to Washington on Monday. In addition to Thursday's vote in the House, Congress has until Thursday night to pass funding legislation to avert a government shutdown on Friday.

--Updated at 1:21 p.m.