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Buttigieg on passing spending packages: ‘We are the closest we have ever been’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday that Biden administration officials and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are “the closest we have ever been” to passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a massive social spending package as negotiators look to finalize a deal this week.

When asked by host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” how he can be optimistic that the measures will pass when Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have not yet expressed support for the larger package’s framework, Buttigieg said President Biden is confident they will pass after discussions with progressives and moderates in the party.

“We are the closest we have ever been, and the president put forward this framework having talked to them and others throughout the progressive and moderate wings of our party confident that it will pass,” Buttigieg said.

The Transportation secretary said the administration is “very optimistic” that the packages will have the votes to pass this week.

“The president put forward this framework because he believes that it will pass the House and the Senate and can get to his desk, and as soon as it does, it’s going to make such a difference in the lives of Americans,” he added.

Buttigieg’s comments come after Democratic leadership last Thursday punted a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill after progressives refused to weigh in on the legislation because they were still reviewing the recently released framework of the larger reconciliation package.

Progressives have been adamant in their demand that the two bills be passed together.

Negotiations had stalled largely because of Manchin and Sinema, who said they would not support the original $3.5 trillion price tag on the reconciliation package.

The two moderates made positive remarks on the $1.75 trillion framework last week, but they have yet to offer their endorsements.

A Democratic leadership aide told The Hill on Saturday that the caucus is looking to pass both packages as early as Tuesday, which would cap off months of contentious negotiations over a key part of Biden’s agenda.

Tags George Stephanopoulos Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Pete Buttigieg

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