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“People will be disappointed. People will not get everything they want, that is the art of legislating, but the goal here is to get both bills, and we’re going to fight until we get both bills,” Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Late last week, infighting between moderate and leftist members of the Democratic Party over the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill prompted a Capitol Hill visit by Biden. However, Biden left the meeting on Oct. 1, admitting to reporters that no deal is intact.
More moderate Democratic lawmakers have sought an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill, which passed along bipartisan lines several weeks ago, in the House. Progressives have said that there first needs to be an agreement to pass the $3.5 trillion measure, which would bolster climate initiatives and social welfare programs.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) speaks during a markup on H.R. 7120, the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 17, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/AFP via Getty Images)
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Richmond admitted that the Biden administration is “concerned about delivering” on the agenda and added that Biden “wants both bills and he expects to get both bills.”
When questioned about Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) comment last week that he won’t support a reconciliation bill worth more than $1.5 trillion, Richmond said that “I will say that this administration, we know what we need to do, we need to deliver for the American people.”
“We think we have unity of purpose with Sen. Manchin,” said Richmond, a former Democrat House representative. “That’s what the president does best, and that is to talk to Sen. Manchin and make sure that he understands the entire vision why we need to do it.”
Richmond then argued that the reconciliation bill would cost “zero,” prompting pushback from Fox News host Chris Wallace, who argued that even if more taxes were acquired from wealthier Americans and corporations, there is still a cost that should be considered.
“At the end of the day it will cost zero because we’re gonna pay for it,” said Richmond, without elaborating. “Now if you go back and look at the Trump tax cuts, which weren’t paid for, they cost billions and billions. But we’re going to pay for everything we spend here and that is not including the economic benefits and gains that we will get from it, but we know what we’re doing.”
Some analysts, Manchin, GOP lawmakers, and moderate Democrats have warned that the massive spending package would further drive up inflation, which Biden and progressives have denied.
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