- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 24, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday the plan this week is for Democrats to finalize an agreement on a massive $2 trillion social safety net bill and pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Ms. Pelosi said that Democrats are “almost there” on the spending proposal and that she is “optimistic” that lawmakers can move things ahead this week.

“We have 90% of the bill agreed to and written. We just have some of the last  decisions to be made,” Ms. Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It is less than what it was projected to begin with, but it is still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America’s working families.”

President Biden had spent months pushing a $3.5 trillion social spending proposal, but divisions in the party forced him to scale back his vision.

Sens. Joseph Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who Democrats need to pass the bill, were uncomfortable with the scope of the proposal.



The plan now is expected to have a price tag of roughly $2 trillion. Democrats had hoped the bill included new spending  on education, child care, paid leave and climate change programs.

It remains unclear what initiatives will make the cut.

Ms. Pelosi suggested that paid family leave will be part of the proposal but other components such as expanding Medicaid to cover dental, vision and hearing, could prove to be too costly.

Ms. Pelosi also said that the spending proposal will address climate change and that Democrats have an “array” of ways to pay for their vision, including the possibility of a “wealth” tax.

“We are going to fully pay for the plan,” the California Democrat said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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