Biden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report
President Biden is expected to attend a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday morning before he departs for Europe to attend a pair of global summits, in a last-minute attempt to push through the multibillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Sources familiar with the plans told NBC News that Biden is expected to attend the 9 a.m. meeting on Capitol Hill, where he will push progressives to help get the infrastructure bill passed.
Many progressives in the House are still refusing to vote for the infrastructure package until a deal is secured on a broader social spending package, called the Build Back Better Act.
NBC noted the meeting will likely delay Biden’s overseas travel plans, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said that “flexibility” is built into the president’s schedule.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to colleagues that “Democrats are close to agreement on the priorities and the top line” of the social spending package, as she aims for a vote on the infrastructure bill this week. She called on her colleagues to have some “trust” in each other for the sake of expediency.
“We are facing a crucial deadline for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass. To do so, we must have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act,” wrote Pelosi.
Heading into the high-stakes climate summit in Europe, Biden is already having to contend with losing key climate provisions in the spending package after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) pushed back against the measures.
Democrats need all 50 of their senators on board to pass the social spending bill through the budget reconciliation process, which allows the party to bypass a Republican filibuster.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said earlier this week that losing those provisions weakened Biden’s position in the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins this weekend.
“I think the most unfortunate part about losing the provisions of the reconciliation bill is that it weakens Joe Biden’s hands in Glasgow, the climate meeting that’s coming up, because if we’re going to get the rest of the world to take serious steps to remedy this problem, we’ve got to do it ourselves,” King said on Sunday.
Democrats have scrambled to find alternate climate provisions acceptable to Manchin, and have said they could still spend some $500 billion on climate-related programs.
“We’re talking about an investment in climate change larger than the entire Department of Energy,” Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Tuesday. “We just now have to go get that done. I think we’re making a lot of progress in that regard.”