Panel approves Democrats’ $ 3.5 billion bill, time is running out for Biden’s agenda

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats pushed a 10-year, $ 3.5 trillion bill to strengthen the social safety net and climate programs through the House Budget Committee, but a Democrat voted ” no ”, illustrating the challenges that party leaders face in gaining the near unanimity they will obtain. need to pass the sprawling package through Congress.

The Democrat-dominated panel, meeting virtually on Saturday, approved the measure in a vote close to the party line, 20-17. The passage marked a necessary but minor check of a procedural box for Democrats by bringing it closer to plenary debate. Under the budget rules, the committee was not allowed to significantly change the 2,465-page measure, the product of 13 other House committees.

Larger work has taken place in an opaque procession of mostly unannounced phone calls, meetings and other bargaining sessions between party leaders and grassroots lawmakers. President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., have waged a behind-the-scenes compromise hunt to resolve internal divisions and, hopefully, they will allow the mammoth bill to be approved soon.

Pelosi told fellow Democrats on Saturday that they “must” pass the social and environmental package this week, along with a separate infrastructure bill and a third measure preventing a government shutdown on Friday. His letter to his colleagues underscored the amount of crucial work that the Democratic majority in Congress will face in the coming days and seemed an effort to heighten the urgency to quickly resolve long-standing differences.

“The next few days will be a period of intensity,” she wrote.

Moderate Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., Joined the 16 Republicans on the budget committee to oppose the legislation. His objections included one that worries many Democrats: a reluctance to support a bill with provisions that would later be dropped by the Senate.

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