Dem leaders try for unity — and only get more tough questions

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Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced "a framework" of options to pay for big social investment that was met with confusion from others in the party.
"You're witnessing democracy in full bloom. Everybody wants to be heard and acknowledged," said Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), who was optimistic the speaker could pull it off: "Nancy's a magician."

Pelosi and her team hope that projecting progress in the talks — both with a "framework" of financing mechanisms announced Thursday and plans for the House Budget Committee to markup the still-unfinished package this weekend — will satisfy progressives enough to back off their threats.

"We take it one day at a time," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "I'm confident that we will pass both bills."

But the leaders' actions only served to sow more confusion for many lawmakers, raising questions in all corners of the party about precisely who had signed off, on what and for how much.

"We don't know what they're talking about," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters of the purported framework. "It sounds good if they're all working toward something to present to us after all the conversations yesterday. I haven't seen it."

An aide to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), another key party to any final deal, said of Schumer's announcement: "Unclear what he is referring to. We have seen nothing and have not signed off on anything."

Pelosi and Schumer's actions underscore the sense of urgency among Biden and his Hill allies to show some signs of life in the frenetic scramble to revive his legislative agenda, after little visible progress from the president's half-day summit with key lawmakers Wednesday. Even with next week's vote looming, Democrats' path forward is still murky at best, with moderates and progressives locked in a public standoff over Biden's two spending priorities.

Earlier in the day Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a cryptic announcement that they, along with the White House, had agreed to "a framework" of options to pay for their social spending ambitions, an effort meant to show forward movement in the stalled negotiations.

"I think…
Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris, Jennifer Scholtes
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