Biden urges passage of two key bills amid legislative "stalemate"

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The president acknowledged deeply divided congressional Democrats are "getting down to the hard spot" in negotiations over passage of his massive social spending plan.
President Biden acknowledged Friday that Congress is "getting down to the hard spot" on negotiations over his massive social spending plan, as Democrats are navigating a deep divide between their moderate and progressive wings.

Progressive Democrats want to delay the House vote scheduled Monday on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, so that they can first vote on the up-to $3.5 trillion measure that aims to create jobs, raise taxes on the wealthy, address climate change and ease the financial burden on lower- and middle-income families.

At the same time, the federal government faces the possibility of a partial government shutdown and is likely a few weeks from U.S. default, which has never before happened. On Friday, speaking to reporters at length about his legislative agenda, the president had a clear message to lawmakers in his party.

"Now, we're at this stalemate at the moment, and we're going to have to get these two pieces of legislation passed. Both need to be passed," he said.

A majority of the 96-member House Progressive Caucus say they'll vote against the bipartisan bill that passed in the Senate if the reconciliation bill isn't passed first, while moderate Democrats insist infrastructure needs to pass first and have and at least two Democratic senators are withholding their support for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill because its pricetag is too high.

Some moderate Republicans may vote for the infrastructure bill, but it's unclear if there are enough of them to compensate if progressives make good on their threat. House GOP leaders are encouraging members to vote "no" on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Mr. Biden met with key Democratic lawmakers at the White House Wednesday in an attempt to resolve some of their differences.

"One of the things that I think is important, and I'm trying to get people to focus on, is, what is it you like?" Mr. Biden said Friday, referencing Democratic lawmakers. "What do you think we —…
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