Democrats could be squabbling over Biden's social spending plans through Thanksgiving due to a 'lack of trust'

Democrats could be squabbling over Biden's social spending plans through Thanksgiving due to a 'lack of trust'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images; Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • Democrats still need to resolve key differences on Biden's latest social spending framework release Thursday.
  • Some lawmakers are pushing to include drug price controls and a paid leave program.

President Joe Biden tried breaking the Capitol Hill logjam on his economic agenda with a new $1.75 trillion social spending plan. But lingering divides on which measures to prioritize in the slimmed-down package spells more wrangling in the weeks ahead.

Democrats are signaling the blueprint will undergo major changes in what may be another month of negotiations. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said he believed drafting a bill that clears the 50-50 Senate and passing it could happen sometime before Thanksgiving.

"I would say it's close to final, but there's still a lot of stuff to do," Kaine told Insider on Thursday. "It's just that it is a very massive bill."

The spending framework would set up universal pre-K for six years, renew monthly cash payments to the vast majority of American families for another year, expand Medicare so it covers hearing, transition the US onto cleaner energy sources and provide child-care subsidies for six years.

The biggest chunk of the plan is devoted to tackling the climate emergency. It largely consists of tax credits for clean energy manufacturing and addressing extreme weather events. The blueprint is paid for with tax hikes on rich Americans and large corporations.


Most Democrats in both the House and Senate support it. But a pair of holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, aren't committed to backing it yet. Every Senate Democrat must stick together for it to pass the upper chamber.

The pair's lukewarm statements on the framework caused progressives to keep holding back support from a separate $550 billion infrastructure bill focused on repairing roads and bridges. Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled the vote on Thursday for the second time in less than a month and it's been stuck in the House since it passed the Senate in August.

Dissatisfaction among centrists who want the infrastructure bill immediately sent to Biden's desk is growing. "People are frustrated right now," Rep. Jim Costa of California told Insider. "There's a lack of trust, and you got a lot of members that have been here four years or less and they don't seem to understand how you get things done."

Pelosi held out the possibility of passing both bills next week. But some lawmakers are pushing to include measures like federal drug price controls, paid leave, and a repeal of the federal deduction for state and local taxes known as SALT, all of which were dropped from Biden's plan.

It's also possible another version of a billionaire tax proposal that lasted less than a day before being killed by Manchin could be re-added. "This is not done," Senate Finance chair Ron Wyden of Oregon told Insider.