Pelosi Says Democrats Almost Have a Spending Bill Deal

Biden meets with Manchin in Delaware
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2021 1:25 PM CDT
Pelosi Says Democrats Almost Have a Spending Bill Deal
President Biden greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event Thursday marking the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Asked Sunday when congressional Democrats will reach an agreement on President Biden's social safety net legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it could be any time now. "I think we are pretty much there now," Pelosi said on CNN's State of the Union. "We have 90% of the bill agreed to and written. We just have some of the last decisions to be made," the Hill reports the Democratic speaker as saying. A deal on that package would allow Biden's infrastructure bill to move toward a vote.

The social safety net legislation has been slashed from $3.5 trillion to no more than $2 trillion to try to pick up support from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. On Sunday, Biden had Manchin over to his Delaware home for a meeting, per Politico, trying to cut a deal before the president leaves Friday for the climate summit. Manchin is insisting on a $1.5 trillion total, which especially imperils paid leave and Medicare expansion for dental, vision, and hearing. The original bill also has money in it for child care, education, and climate programs, per NBC.

Pelosi said Sunday that she wants paid leave in the final version but sounded less committed to other provisions. "Dental is very expensive," the speaker said. Even in a smaller version, the Biden's plan would be "transformative," she said: "It is less than what was projected to begin with, but it is still bigger than anything we've done in terms of addressing the needs of American working families." (Democrats find trying to negotiate with Sen. Krysten Sinema frustrating.)

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