The Democrats were supposed to “get it done today”; instead the Biden-mediated negotiation with the increasingly rebellious progressives proved to be the latest failure for the 78 year old president.
Speaking to reporters after a brief, 30-minute meeting with the House Democratic caucus, Biden said there was no rush to pass his economic agenda amid tensions over how to proceed on a Senate-passed infrastructure bill and a larger reconciliation package. It was Biden’s first time traveling to Capitol Hill to push for his agenda since July, when he met with Senate Democrats.
Honored to welcome @POTUS to the U.S. Capitol this afternoon. Together, we will #BuildBackBetter for the American people! pic.twitter.com/cLEU6AlsB8
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 1, 2021
“We’re gonna get this done,” Biden said as he departed the caucus meeting, adding that “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done.”
Only it clearly won’t be six minutes because the infrastructure vote which many had expected to take place today, won’t be taking place today as progressives stood their ground, and maintained their demands for a $3.5 trillion package, even though Biden again made it clear that the topline of the spending package won’t be $3.5 trillion, a number which Joe Manchin has made clear is idiotic. In fact, according to Politico, the discussed top-line of the range was $1.9 to $2.3 trillion, both of which are also unlikely to get Manchin’s approval.
Biden explained that this range comes from his conversations with Manchin and Sinema. They're not discussing these specific toplines per se, but WH has been assembling all the different programs they *do* support and this is roughly how much they'd cost.
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) October 1, 2021
Meanwhile, progressives are steaming; in fact they were so pissed off that someone kept leaking information to the press that they forced all members of the Progressive Caucus to deposit their cell phones in a cardboard box outside the meeting.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus had a cardboard box outside their meeting for lawmakers to deposit their cell phones.
Now when lawmakers describe the meeting they’ll be doing it by memory instead of in real time.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 1, 2021
The president’s personal involvement – his highly anticipated mediation if you will – came amid calls for him to do more to facilitate the passage of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger, $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that contains funding for Democratic priorities like health care, climate policy, education and family care.
Biden did not exhort his fellow Democrats to adhere to a specific timeline on passing the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill or the broader package to expand social safety programs during the meeting in the Capitol basement. Instead, Biden reportedly focused on urging them to come together as centrists and progressives have remained at odds whether to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill as soon as Friday or wait until they secure commitments on the social spending package from two key holdouts in the Senate.
He failed; furthermore, Democrats left the meeting under the impression that Biden wasn’t calling on them to immediately pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, after Democratic leaders have twice postponed a vote on its passage this week.
“No one had a specific timeline, but it’s not today,” said progressive Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), one of the centrists who secured the original commitment from Democratic leaders to vote this week on the bipartisan bill, expressed frustration that the House vote didn’t appear to be imminent after Biden’s appearance.
“I’m very disappointed,” Costa said.
Seems like everything was pretty well under control until Biden got involved and fucked it up.
— PickABetterChief (@TrumpsTears) October 1, 2021
And while Biden’s failure, hardly a surprise in light of his recent track record, was to be expected we got yet another reminder that BIden is just a figurehead to some still “unknown” puppetmaster(s) in his staff. According to Politico reporter Sarah Ferris, even though Biden himself offered to take questions from members, “his staff jumped in” and in the end the 78-year-old, sans teleprompter, did not take any questions.
INSIDE the caucus:
At the end of his remarks, BIDEN offered to take questions from members but his staff jumped in.
He didn't take any questions.
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) October 1, 2021
This once again begs the question: who in Biden’s staff is really running this country?