Administration

Biden scraps Chicago trip to focus on negotiations over economic agenda

President Biden has postponed plans to travel to Chicago on Wednesday in favor of remaining in Washington to continue to spearhead negotiations over his economic agenda, a White House official said.

"In meetings and calls over the weekend and through today, President Biden has been engaging with members of Congress on the path forward for the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal," the official said. "He will now remain at the White House tomorrow to continue working on advancing these two pieces of legislation to create jobs, grow the economy, and make investments in families, rather than failed giveaways to the rich and big corporations."

Biden was originally slated to travel to Chicago to promote COVID-19 vaccine requirements for businesses on Wednesday. The White House official said that the trip to Chicago would be rescheduled.

The news was first reported by CNN.

Biden has held a handful of meetings and phone calls with Democratic members of Congress over the past week in order to facilitate the passage of the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger reconciliation package containing Democratic priorities to address climate change, provide tax cuts to families and expand access to child care and prekindergarten and community college education.

The president on Tuesday met with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), both key moderate votes who have expressed concerns about the $3.5 trillion price tag for the reconciliation package, at the White House.

A Biden administration source familiar with the ongoing negotiations said that there is a sense that progress is being made. The White House has not provided specific details on the extent of Biden's planned engagements with lawmakers on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has scheduled a Thursday vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but progressive members are vowing to vote against it if she moves forward with the bill without moving the larger package at the same time.

Additionally, Congress needs to pass a funding bill in order to avert a government shutdown before Friday, Oct. 1. Senate Republicans on Monday evening blocked a measure that would have funded the government and suspended the debt ceiling. Democrats want Republicans to vote with them to suspend the debt limit, but the GOP has refused to do so.

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