Joe Biden says he's confident he'll get a deal on economic spending packages


President Biden expressed confidence Thursday that his two key spending proposals will clear Congress, signaling that lawmakers are nearing an agreement.

“I do think that I’ll get a deal,” Mr. Biden said at a CNN town-hall meeting in Baltimore.

He also called on lawmakers to come together and salvage his faltering economic proposals, saying he believed it was possible to reach a consensus.

“It’s all about compromise,” Mr. Biden said. “You know compromise has become a dirty word, but bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible.

“Everybody’s been saying, well, ‘that’s crazy, you can’t do it,’” he said. “If we can’t eventually in this country, we’re in deep trouble.”

Democrats remain deeply divided on Mr. Biden’s twin, multi-trillion spending proposals. Moderates say the proposals are too expensive while progressives insist they don’t go far enough.

Democrats have set a self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline to reach an agreement.

Speaking at the town hall, Mr. Biden acknowledged that he’s had to pare down parts of the bill to get approval from Congress.

He told the audience that he’s scaled back a paiD-leave provision to four weeks from his original goal of 12 weeks. Mr. Biden also acknowledged that his proposal for tuition-free community college was also likely to be cut from the final bill.

“It’s not going to get us the whole thing,” he said, while pledging to continue his fight for free community college.

The president also admitted that it would be “a reach” to include adding dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare, which progressive lawmakers pushed to include.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, is one of two moderates who’ve complained about the cost of the president’s spending plan and has opposed including the health proposals in his final bill.

Mr. Biden said, instead, he was working to include an $800 voucher for dental coverage and was still negotiating vision coverage.

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