Joe Biden Says 'It Doesn't Matter When' His Key Agenda Items Pass After Desperate Capitol Meeting

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Posted: Oct 01, 2021 6:30 PM
Joe Biden Says 'It Doesn't Matter When' His Key Agenda Items Pass After Desperate Capitol Meeting

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden on Friday met with fellow Democrats at the Capitol to discuss the infrastructure bill and reconciliation, as Katie reported. Upon exiting the meeting, he told reporters that the timeline didn't matter. Katie has also included an update in her reporting that the meeting was "a nothing burger," with not even an ask for a vote.

"We’re gonna get this done," Biden said as he was leaving, pointing out "it doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done."

In their reporting for The Hill, Cristina Marcos and Brett Samuels explained that "Biden spoke to congressional Democrats for roughly 30 minutes. It was his first time traveling to Capitol Hill to push for his agenda since July, when he met with Senate Democrats."

The fate and even the date of such agenda items have hung in the balance. There has been confusion and disunity from the Democratic Party when it comes to when a vote on the infrastructure bill would take place. It appeared possible up until Sunday night that a vote would take place in the House on Monday, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ultimately confirmed late on Sunday night in a "Dear Colleague" press release that it would be Thursday, or at least it was supposed to be. 

As Guy covered on Wednesday, though, that date was quickly called into question. Ultimately, even after hours of meetings, the vote did not take place on Thursday. For how Nancy Pelosi is supposed to be a "master negotiator" and expert vote counter, she appears to have been bested by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Jayapal has been clear that the votes are not there for the infrastructure bill from enough progressives.

Naomi Jagoda for The Hill had more about the key progressive member:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of theth Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters prior to a meeting of House Democrats Friday that she still would prefer a Senate vote on a reconciliation bill before the House votes on the bipartisan infrastructure measure. 

...

But Jayapal signaled that an agreement on a reconciliation framework might not be enough for her to want to vote for the infrastructure bill. 

"I have consistently said that we need a vote in the Senate, because I want to make sure that there are no delays, that there are no mix-ups, that there are no mixed understandings about what the deal is," Jayapal said. "I am open to hearing what other options there are for that, but I am very concerned about legislative language holding things up, vote-a-rama changing the deal, and those are the things that have to be addressed, along with the content. So it's both content and process."

Her comments come as House Democrats scramble Friday to break a weeks-long stalemate on the bipartisan infrastructure package — a debate that's exposed fierce rifts between moderates and progressives that are threatening to tank President Biden's ambitious domestic agenda.

Following the meeting, the president also got a bit smart-mouthed when he responded to a reporter who asked about uniting Democrats.

"Why has it been so challenging to unite the party, Mr. President," the reporter asked. "Why has it been so challenging to unite the party?" As the president, who appeared to be standing beside Pelosi and senior advisor Cedric Richmond turned around, the reporter called out "is Biden's party united?"

Finally, the president scoffed "are you serious?" He went on to say his signature line of "come on, man. Unite the party. 50/50, I got it."

Biden's agenda is indeed very much on the line. 

CNN is well aware of that, in a sobering piece that is aptly titled "Biden vows 'we're going to get this done' as Democrats attempt to overcome divisions to enact key agenda items." They've got some scoop too, which is that these meetings may not have even yielded the hoped for results. 

Biden was on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon meeting with members of the House Democratic Caucus, as Democratic leaders and White House officials labor to strike a deal on the economic framework that they hope can unlock enough votes for infrastructure. Two sources familiar with ongoing talks told CNN that a deal on the so-called framework of the economic package isn't finished or imminent at this current moment. 

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