Here he comes again.
President Biden will meet with House Democrats Thursday morning in an effort to break a conference deadlock and secure a vote on a Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, sources told The Post late Wednesday.
Biden is expected to attend the 9 a.m. meeting before departing on a trip to Europe that includes an appearance at a United Nations climate conference in Glasgow early next week.
The visit comes as Democrats struggle to reach agreement on a massive social spending bill, which they are attempting to ram through Congress without Republican support through the parliamentary maneuver of reconciliation. Far-left House Democrats have vowed they will vote to kill the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan unless the social spending bill passes both chambers of Congress first.
The last time Biden went to Capitol Hill to speak to House Democrats, on Oct. 1, he made clear that there would be no movement on the infrastructure deal until agreement was reached on the final form of the social spending measure.
“I’m tellin’ ya, we’re gonna get this done,” Biden told reporters at the time. “Doesn’t matter if it’s in six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done.”
Twenty-six days later, facing the prospect of meeting world leaders in Scotland without either piece of legislation enacted, the president implored lawmakers to figure out the next steps.
“Universal preschool. Historic climate investments. Lower health care costs,” Biden tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “They’re all within our reach. Let’s bring these bills over the finish line.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters he expected a vote on the infrastructure bill as soon as Thursday, and indicated it was up to Biden to keep progressives onside.
“I think it’s gonna be necessary for the president to look them in the eye and say, ‘I believe, having talked to [Sen. Joe] Manchin, having talked to [Sen. Kyrsten] Sinema, that if this framework is passed, they will pass it in the Senate,” Hoyer told CNN.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), however, told reporters that she would not back the infrastructure bill and that agreement on a social spending framework alone would not be enough to satisfy her.
“We’ve had frameworks for six months, and we’ve seen how much these frameworks have changed, been taken back, etc.” she told CNN. “We need text.”
The pushback from progressives forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to postpone a planned vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month. The House instead voted to pass a temporary extension of highway funding, which expires Sunday. Moderate Democrats have implored Pelosi to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill as soon as possible.
The House Rules Committee is slated to hold a hearing on the not-yet-completed social spending measure on Thursday, though it is not expected to tee up the actual measure for debate on the House floor for several days, if not weeks.
Biden originally sought $3.5 trillion in spending on social and environmental programs, but any bill agreed on by Democrats is expected to be half that size.
The biggest roadblocks have been Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sinema (D-Ariz.) whose opposition to key proposals in the legislation have frustrated the White House and progressives alike.
On Wednesday afternoon, in an apparent sign of frustration with the progress of talks, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted a disparaging post about the social spending bill negotiations by Eric Levitz of New York magazine.
“A bill that did nothing but establish universal pre-k, $500 billion in climate funding, and a permanent child allowance kinda seems preferable to the emerging grab-bag of ill-designed, underfunded programs that are all set to self-destruct during the second Trump administration,” Levitz wrote.
On Wednesday, Manchin objected to a proposal to finance paid parental and family leave — though Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Manchin had agreed to reconsider his stance after she confronted him on the Senate floor.
“To put this in a reconciliation bill, major policies is not the way to do it,” Manchin told reporters. “We have to be careful what we’re doing. And if we do it, do it right.”
Manchin also gave colleagues the impression Wednesday that he opposed a proposed “billionaire’s tax” on unrealized capital gains of people with either $1 billion in assets or annual income of $100 million — before he clarified Wednesday that he could get behind a new tax policy that adopted a 15 percent minimum tax on billionaires and other high-income people who are able to lower their taxes through deductions and other strategies.
Sinema torpedoed Biden’s original plan to raise the corporate tax rate and hike taxes on incomes over $400,000, but has embraced a proposed 15 percent minimum tax on corporate profits.