News and Analysis

Biden Scales Back Spending Plan, Cuts Out Key Progressive Priorities
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 14: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus October 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged states and businesses to support vaccine mandates to avoid a surge in cases of Covid-19. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration has rolled back its larger spending plan after meetings with moderate and progressive Democratic lawmakers Tuesday, cutting out a number of progressive priorities in the hope of getting the bill passed.

The Associated Press reports President Biden met with two separate groups of progressive and moderate Congressional Democrats in private meetings Tuesday to discuss curtailing the spending plan in hopes of getting it passed.

The AP reports: “Democrats appeared ready to abandon what had been a loftier $3.5 trillion package in favor of a smaller, more workable proposal that can unite the party and win passage in the closely divided Congress.” With just an 8-seat majority in the House of Representatives and an evenly split Senate, the Democrats need the support of their entire caucus if they want to pass any new spending measure through budget reconciliation.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was “more confident” in the sense of “urgency” among lawmakers, noting that there was “broad agreement” that “the window for finalizing a package is closing.” Democrats have set Oct. 31 as the deadline to pass the spending bill.

Among the programs which could be scaled back or cut out altogether include tuition-free community college, a path to “permanent legal status” for some groups of immigrants, and the administration’s cornerstone clean energy plan. However, paid family leave, child tax credits, and free pre-kindergarten remain on the table, though significantly scaled back, according to the AP. 

The administration is intent on maintaining the $300 child tax credit for another year, instead of letting it expire in December as previously scheduled, but the annual income threshold has been lowered to under $75,000, or $150,000 for couples. Those thresholds could be lowered even further to appease Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who wants the income cap lowered to $60,000 and a firm work requirement included. The federal paid family leave program could also be shrunk down from a months-long payment period to as little as four weeks. 

The Biden administration’s clean energy plan also faces a massive obstacle in Manchin. As previously reported by The Daily Wire, Manchin opposes both the administration’s original plan of grants and incentives to encourage clean energy production, as well as a “carbon tax” on greenhouse gas emissions favored by progressive Democrats. 

Manchin, as well as Democratic Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, have proved to be significant stumbling blocks to the passage of the Biden administration’s spending plan. As previously reported by The Daily Wire, Manchin has called the administration’s $3.5 trillion spending plan “the definition of fiscal insanity” and set a hard cap of $1.5 trillion in new spending.

“At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question – how much is enough?” Manchin said at the time.

Sinema has also stated that she would not accept the $3.5 trillion spending figure and has also opposed proposed the administration’s drug pricing measures, which were supposed to be included in the larger package.   

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