Biden: Negotiating assault weapons ban more difficult than infrastructure, reconciliation deal

President Biden on Thursday said negotiating the assault weapons ban of 1994 was more difficult than current deliberations for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and reconciliation package, as the White House and Capitol Hill near the end of months-long negotiations for key parts of his legislative agenda.

Biden, when asked by Anderson Cooper during a CNN town hall if his Build Back Better agenda is the toughest deal he has ever worked on, responded no, pointing to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.

“I think banning assault weapons is the toughest deal I worked on. And succeeded,” Biden told Cooper.

Biden’s comments come as lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the White House say they are close to reaching a deal on the administration’s Build Back Better agenda, which includes a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package.

Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have been embroiled in tense negotiations regarding both bills in recent months, focusing on what they include and their top-line prices.

Biden on Thursday said he thinks he is close to a deal.

“Are you close to a deal?” Cooper asked.

“I think so. You know, look, I was a Senator for 370 years and I was relatively good at putting together deals,” Biden responded.

Biden was a key figure in the 1994 debate over the assault weapons ban. A senator from Delaware, Biden advocated for assault-style weapons to be prohibited.

“In case after case of murderous rampages by disturbed and violent thugs, the ability of military-style assault weapons to kill and maim not just a few but eight or 10, 14, 35 people in just minutes has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt,” Biden said at the time, according to NPR.

Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have largely held up the negotiations for Biden’s legislative agenda. The two lawmakers are opposed to the $3.5 trillion top-line number on the reconciliation package, and have called for the price tag to be reduced.

Manchin has proposed making changes to the child tax credit to scale back the cost of the reconciliation package. Specifically, he has called for the tax credit having an established work requirement and a family income limit in the $60,000 range.

Biden on Thursday, however, threw cold water on that proposal.

When asked by Cooper if he supports a work requirement for the child tax credit, he responded “No.”

The president also revealed that his proposal for paid family and medical leave has been reduced from 12 weeks to four weeks in the reconciliation bill.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema
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