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Biden meeting with moderate U.S. Senate Democrats to discuss $3.5 trln spending bill By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Joe Biden makes remarks at Mather airport, California (U.S.A), September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden was meeting separately with moderate Democratic U.S. The White House stated that Senators Joe Manchin (Democratic-backed) and Kyrsten Silena met separately on Wednesday to talk about domestic spending legislation.

The Senate has a narrow majority of Democrats, which makes Sinema and Manchin crucial to the prospects for the $3.5 billion bill.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the purpose of the meetings was to discuss a “path forward” on Biden’s proposed legislation.

Sinema spokesman John LaBombard said, “Today’s meeting was productive, and Kyrsten is continuing to work in good faith with her colleagues and President Biden as this legislation develops.”

LaBombard didn’t provide any details about the conversation.

Psaki said that Manchin had been scheduled to speak on Wednesday night about the broad-ranging tax and spending bill.

Republicans oppose the legislation. The bill would add to a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $1 trillion and focus on education and climate change.

Manchin had said that he won’t support a package worth $3.5 trillion and demanded a shorter version. He was at odds with fellow Democrats who supported the bigger bill in order to achieve the party’s main policy goals, while keeping a close hold on Congress.

The legislation is being pushed through Congress by Democrats using special procedures called budget reconciliation. The simple majority of 48 Democrats plus the two independents that caucus along with them would enable them to gain Senate passage. Vice President Kamala Harris could break a probable 50-50 tie and bypass Republican opposition.

To be considered for advancement, any other legislation must win 60 votes or more in Senate.

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, is hoping to have a vote by September on the $3.5 billion package. It could be redrafted downwards and sent to the Senate.

Pelosi, who has a very slim Democratic majority in Congress will need to meet competing demands from her progressive and moderate parties.

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