WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden expects to get full Democratic support when he unveils a new framework Thursday for the sweeping social safety net package that is the centerpiece of his legislative agenda, two sources familiar with the negotiations told NBC News.
Biden is expected to travel to Capitol Hill to huddle behind closed doors in the morning with House Democrats to discuss the package. He is then expected to deliver remarks at the White House in the late morning and is scheduled to leave for his trip to Europe in the mid-afternoon.
The president’s challenge before the House Democratic Caucus is to sell the measure to a group with ranging interests, including progressives who have watched their priorities be whittled away from the bill over months of negotiations to win the support of moderates.
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have been at odds throughout the talks with the two moderate senators who have thrown up numerous roadblocks, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The news was first reported by The Washington Post.
It’s unclear exactly what is in the overall agreement, but NBC News reported Wednesday that Democrats dropped a proposal for paid family and medical leave from the spending package after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., expressed opposition. Biden had originally proposed 12 weeks of paid leave, then last week it was reduced to four weeks before it was eliminated altogether.
Democrats have said that the bill would provide an extension of the child tax credit and funding for childcare centers. The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said Wednesday that the legislation would also include funding for housing and vouchers, historically Black colleges and universities and coverage for more seniors and Medicaid recipients.
The White House wanted at least a deal on the measure’s framework before Biden leaves for Europe because he doesn’t want to appear empty-handed at the G20 summit in Rome and the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Democrats have said that the bill had to be dramatically cut from the original $3.5 trillion proposal. Biden told progressives last week that he was considering a price range of $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion for the final package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been aiming to hold a vote Thursday on the $550 billion Senate-passed infrastructure measure, but progressives have insisted that the larger social safety net bill proceed in tandem with the infrastructure package.