House Delays Vote on $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill as Democrats Struggle to Reach Deal

Isabel van Brugen
By Isabel van Brugen
October 1, 2021Politics
House Delays Vote on $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill as Democrats Struggle to Reach Deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) leaves the chamber after passing the temporary funding bill that will avert a government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 30, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

House Democrats late on Thursday night again delayed a vote on the Democratic leadership’s $3.5 trillion spending bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office confirmed in a statement after hours of closed-door talks.

“The House will remain in recess subject to the call of the Chair during this same legislative day of September 30, and will reconvene no earlier than 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning,” the statement, issued shortly before 11 p.m., said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a separate statement said that Thursday had been a “day of progress in fulfilling the President’s vision to Build Back Better.” The reconciliation bill had been scheduled for a vote on Thursday.

“Discussions continue with the House, Senate, and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill,” Pelosi added.

Thursday’s postponement came as two key Senate moderates, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) indicated that they wouldn’t back the bill without adjustments. Both votes are critical to the bill’s passage, and they have long maintained that the price tag is too high.

“I don’t see a deal tonight. I really don’t,” Manchin said shortly before 10 p.m. as he exited a meeting with senior congressional and White House staff in the Capitol basement.

Manchin indicated for the first time that $1.5 trillion is the farthest he will go on reconciliation, telling reporters that he thought that figure was the most the government could do without “jeopardiz[ing] our economy.”

He said he was willing to work with leadership to negotiate “our priorities” at a $1.5 trillion price point, adding that if Democrats wanted to do more “they can run on the rest of it later,” adding “there’s many ways to get where they want to, just not [by] doing everything at one time.”

”We’re in good-faith negotiations,” Manchin added.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Sinema, who has said little about the bill since its introduction, said simply, “Kyrsten will not support a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.”

The delay marks the second time this week that the House Speaker has been forced to postpone a planned vote on the bill as negotiations continue.

“[Negotiations] can take place tomorrow, they can take place next week. We should not get hung up on a date,” Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters as he left a meeting with top White House staff on Thursday night.

Manchin late on Wednesday said that he believes that it will take “a while” to work out the specific changes needed to pass the broad measures proposed in the Biden-backed “Build Back Better Act,” which was not drafted in a bipartisan fashion.

Without elaborating on the specifics of his discussions with President Joe Biden, Manchin said that “[the] reconciliation [bill] is going to take a while; it’s not going to be a week or two or three weeks.”

“There’s a lot, just [even] the tax code itself,” to iron out, he said.

The reconciliation bill should be driven by “what we need and can afford” and not to “reengineer the social and economic fabric of this nation or vengefully tax for the sake of wishful spending,” he added in a statement.

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.

Joseph Lord contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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