Pramila Jayapal: 'Majority' of progressive priorities will be in Biden's slimmer social welfare bill


Progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Tuesday that “the majority” of far-left priorities will be included in President Biden’s planned expansion of the social safety night, though she acknowledged the scaled-back bill will be less than she wanted.

“We all feel optimistic about getting to an agreement on a truly transformational bill that will fundamentally lift people with the priorities laid out five months ago,” Ms. Jayapal, Washington Democrat, told reporters at the White House after she and fellow progressives met with Mr. Biden.

“We feel very good that the majority of those priorities will be in the bill and I think the president has been working incredibly hard to get everyone to a place where we can move this forward,” she said.

Mr. Biden, Vice President Harris and Treasury Secretary Yellen met with Ms. Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and other progressive lawmakers in an attempt to salvage a smaller version of the president’s $3.5 trillion social welfare and climate change bill.

Describing the meeting as “really good” and “productive,” Ms. Jayapal said she’s even more optimistic about reaching a deal than she was earlier in the process.

But Ms. Jayapal acknowledged that the bill’s final price tag will be far less than the $3.5 trillion Democrats initially sought. Mr. Biden floated a top line of between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion.

“It’s not the number that we want. We have consistently tried to make it as high as possible,” she said. “The president has agreed with our strategy.”

Later, Mr. Biden was to meet with moderate Democrats in a bid to bring the two wings of his party together to salvage his teetering economic agenda.

Democrats have a self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline to pass Mr. Biden’s economic plans, which included a liberal wishlist of tax hikes, education programs, health care benefits and climate change measures.

The bill is separate from a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan proposal to shore up the nation’s infrastructure.

Moderate Democrat Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia objected to the high cost of Mr. Biden’s bill and forced negotiations for a smaller package.

Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema also met with the president Tuesday ahead of his meeting with the progressives.

“Our goal is to continue to make progress,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the meetings “And based on the morning meetings and our expectation of the afternoon meetings, we expect they will do exactly that.”

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