Democrats look to act quickly on spending bill
By Dalton Green, AIM
Democrats seem to understand that time is of the essence to wrap up negotiations over President Biden's massive spending bill. The sense of urgency is a product of months of negotiation and built up frustrations that, according to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), "is hurting Biden and the Democrats".
Democrats missed their own self-made deadline to wrap up the spending plan on Friday as talks continued into the weekend, and will likely continue well into the week. Democrats have spent weeks stuck in feuds over the price-tag to the policy details of the social spending bill that is at the heart of their legislative agenda heading into the 2022 midterms.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the press that "a vast majority of Senate Democrats want to act quickly." Sanders added, "I think there is a growing understanding that the working families of this country want real change, that there have been quote unquote negotiations, month after month after month, and that it is now time to fish or cut bait.”
The key issues holding up the bill seem to be clear, including expanding Medicare benefits, the climate change package, drug pricing negotiations and how the bill is ultimately paid for. These issues will prove to be crucial as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that, “The alternative is not a larger package. The alternative is nothing. So his (President Biden) objective is to continue to press forward to bring the parties together to get a historic package done.”
President Biden would like to have the spending bill completed before he heads off to Scotland for a meeting. According to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif), President Biden stated, "The prestige of the United States is on the line. I need this to go represent the United States overseas. I need people to see that the Democratic Party is working, that the country is working, that we can govern.”
As the week carries on, time will tell whether Democrats can come together and agree on the spending bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), remains optimistic as she talked with the press stating, "Much of what we need to do has been written, just a few decisions now," however, she did not commit to a timeline.