‘People Will Be Disappointed’: Top Democrats Concede $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill Will Shrink

Democrats who are involved in negotiations for a $3.5 trillion budget bill with an accompanying $1.2 billion infrastructure bill agreed Sunday that the cost of the former legislation will likely decrease as a result of negotiations with moderate Democrats. This is in line to what President Joe Biden said Friday in closed-door meetings to House Democrats.

WASHINGTON DC - September 29: U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.CA) meets with White House... [+] advisor Cedric Virginia during the Congressional baseball match at Nationals Park September 29, 2021, Washington, DC. First played in 1909, the bipartisan annual game is still being played today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images). Getty Images

The Key Facts

Cedric Richmond was a senior advisor to Biden and a former member. The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin (D.Ill.), said that people will not get all they want from infrastructure negotiations. 2 Democrat in the Senate said that he supports $3.5 trillion, but that, like in the Affordable Care Act negotiations, there will be concessions which will lead to a different number. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Kyrsten Silena (D-Ariz.) have both ruled out support for a $3.5 trillion package. The infrastructure bill focuses on roads, bridges, and waterways. Progressives will not vote for it until there is an agreement to the budget bill. This bill focuses more on social programs such as Medicare and the Child Tax Credit. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D.Wash.), a progressive leader, stated on CNN that the $1.5 trillion Manchin proposed is unlikely to be realized, but that the final cost would likely fall between $1.5 billion and $3.5 trillion. Senator Bernie Sanders (D.Vt.) echoed Jayapal's initial preference for a $6 trillion proposal. However, he said in an ABC This Week interview, that although he considers $3.5 trillion a minimum, he accepts that there will have to be some give and take.

Important Background

Biden visited Capitol Hill Friday to address a House Democratic Caucus meeting. This was widely seen as a victory for progressives. According to Forbes, members present at the meeting said that Biden suggested that the cost of the social spending bill would likely be between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion.

Important Quote

Durbin spoke of Biden's visit to the Capitol as historic, despite the fact that some moderates from both parties were uncomfortable with the display. He was not content to sit on the sidelines or tweet about issues. He got up and went to Capitol Hill.

Big Number

51 This is the number of votes required for the budget bill's passage through reconciliation. Although certain fiscal legislation can be bypassed the Senate filibusters 60 vote threshold, it still needs support from all 50 Senate Democrats as well as Vice President Kamala Harris.

What to Watch

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has given a new deadline for the passage of the infrastructure bill. This puts congressional Democrats back on track to a showdown. In a letter sent to House Democrats Saturday, the speaker stated that she would like it to be passed before October 31st. However, it is not clear if Sinema and Manchin will agree to a resolution with White House.