Democrats want to approve Biden agenda before weekend

Washington, Nov 4 (EFE).- US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats in Congress at a closed-door meeting that her aim is to bring President Joe Biden’s social spending plan to a vote Thursday evening and to do the same on Friday with the infrastructure plan, hoping to pass both before the weekend.

A top-level Democratic advisor in the lower house told EFE that this was Pelosi’s intention, although that could change, depending on circumstances.

The Democratic leader did not confirm this report at her weekly press conference, avoided all questions on the matter and said only that “We’re going to pass both bills, but in order to do so we have to have the votes for both bills, and that’s where we are.”

Pelosi is pressuring the progressive and centrist wings of her party to approve Biden’s agenda as soon as possible, especially after the defeats the Democrats suffered in state and local elections around the country on Tuesday, where the results were worse than expected and they lost the governor’s race in the key state of Virginia.

Democrats have a very narrow majority in the House, and so they cannot allow any internal party rebellions either by the progressives or by the moderates.

The bill that could be brought to a vote on Thursday evening contains Biden’s big social spending proposals, including substantially increased government spending on healthcare, childcare and fighting climate change, among other things.

Initially, the Democrats had also included a paid nationwide family and maternity leave proposal in the package, but they had to shelve it amid pressure from the party’s moderate wing, especially from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

Pelosi, however, decided on Wednesday to once again include the proposal in the package, given that this element is considered to be of vital importance by the party’s progressive lawmakers.

The social spending package will cost some $1.75 trillion, a substantial reduction from the original $3.5 trillion included in the proposal.

If the lower house approves the measure, it will then move to the Senate, where Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote, given that they and the Republicans each hold 50 seats, although Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the body, can cast a vote to break a tie.

In that regard, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer on Thursday expressed his wish that the plan will be approved by the upper house before Thanksgiving, that is by Nov. 25.

The other initiative that Pelosi wants to bring to a vote is the infrastructure package, valued at $1.2 trillion and approved in August in the Senate with bipartisan support.

That bill still has not been brought before the House because the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has insisted that the two initiatives must be approved at the same time, since they fear that once the infrastructure law is approved the moderate members of the party will shove Biden’s social spending plan to the side.

EFE bpm/pamp/rrt/bp

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