Biden tries to tamp down tensions with Putin call
White House still thinks spending deal could be made before Europe trip
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that it is still possible President Biden could make a deal with congressional Democrats on his economic agenda before he leaves for Europe on Thursday.
"Yes, we'll see," Psaki told reporters when asked if the timing is still realistic to come to an agreement on a sweeping social spending package.
"It's 1:30 p.m., so we still have some time. The president would like a bill before he leaves for Europe," she added.
The president met with moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) late Tuesday, and the White House said the three made progress without specifying any concrete agreements.
Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that a deal is "very close" and noted that Democratic lawmakers are also "conveying a similar tone."
"It does require working through specific details and components that need to be finalized before we have a final agreement," she said.
White House officials, including counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Director of Legislative Affairs Louisa Terrell, were on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
The White House also hasn't ruled out a trip to Capitol Hill for the president to negotiate with lawmakers. He went to the Capitol on Oct. 1 to conduct talks with members of Congress.
"The president remains open to going up to the Hill. We haven't made a decision to do that. We are making decisions hour by hour on what would be most constructive to move things forward," Psaki said.
The president is slated to leave Thursday morning, but Psaki said the schedule could be flexible.
"There's some flexibility in the morning but I would not suggest that he's going to delay his trip. He doesn't have the space to delay it much," she said.
Biden on Monday morning told reporters he hopes to have a deal before his trip. The president heads to Rome on Thursday, where he will meet with Pope Francis and attend a Group of 20 summit.
He will then attend COP26, a climate change conference, in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday and Tuesday.