Biden Cuts 10-Year Social Plan Costs to $2 Trillion
US President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have lowered their ambitions to expand the US social safety net to a package worth about $2 trillion. The New York Times reported Tuesday. (local time). Initially, Biden wanted to spend $3.5 trillion over the next decade on climate change, education and a wide variety of socio-economic issues.
According to The New York Times, Biden admitted in a private meeting with Democratic leaders on Friday that he will have to scale down his social spending plans to $2 trillion over ten years.
The Democratic party has a narrow majority in Congress, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. A handful of members can already block initiatives from the president because the Republicans will withhold their support anyway. However, time is running out for Biden to pass important laws. Soon, attention will turn to the Congressional midterm elections next year. The question is whether the Democrats will keep control.
Biden has therefore travelled to swing state Michigan to build a bridge between different camps in his Democratic party that may or may not agree with his proposals. In addition to social spending, Biden also plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next ten years. Unfortunately, he cannot get that plan through Congress: the Senate already approved it in August, but the House has not yet wanted to vote.
“We risk losing our lead,” Biden said in a speech on Tuesday in Michigan advocating support. “If you resist these investments, you are complicit in America’s decline.”
Biden appeared to be targeting Democratic Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who opposed the scale of his social plans. At the same time, he also addressed progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives, who have said they will vote for his infrastructure plan only if Biden’s social plans are not scaled back. Unfortunately, the latter seems to be happening now.
Despite the apparent deadlock, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said he expects the divisions between conservative and progressive Democrats to be resolved on Sunday. “Our goal is to get both laws passed in the next month (November),” Schumer told reporters.