Biden Says Democrats Are ‘Not Going to Get $3.5 Trillion’ for Reconciliation Bill

POLITICS & POLICY
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy at the White House in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden said his administration’s proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill would probably have a lower price tag, in remarks to reporters on Friday.

“To be honest with you, we’re probably not going to get $3.5 trillion this year; we’re going to get something less than that,” Biden said while visiting a child care center in Hartford, Conn., according to a White House transcript of the remarks.

“I’m convinced we’re going to get it done.  We’re not going to get $3.5 trillion,” Biden repeated later in his remarks. “We’ll get less than that, but we’re going to get it.”

Biden added that he wasn’t sure that one of his initial proposals for the reconciliation bill would be in the final package.

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“I don’t know that I can get it done, but I also had proposed free community college,” Biden said.

Democrats’ proposal for the reconciliation bill includes free community college and universal pre-K, expansion of Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing services, paid family and medical leave, and a raft of measures to combat climate change.

However, the bill requires the backing of all 50 Democratic senators in order to pass the reconciliation process. Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) have objected to the price tag of the package.

Biden’s remarks came the same day that Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) penned an op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper urging support for all components of the reconciliation bill, noting Manchin’s opposition. Manchin responded later on Friday that he will not “vote for a reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”

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