President Biden said Monday that he wants a deal in place on his $2 trillion social safety net and climate bill before he leaves for Europe later this week.
“That’s my hope,” said Mr. Biden, who leaves Thursday for a visit to Europe that includes attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
“It would be very, very positive to get it done before the trip,” he told reporters, saying he hopes to have a plan “with the grace of God and goodwill of the neighbors.”
Mr. Biden‘s first stop on the trip will be in Rome, where he will meet with Pope Francis and attend a summit for the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies. He will then head to the climate change conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow. He will use the visit to press world leaders to work together to combat climate change.
The White House has acknowledged that Mr. Biden‘s call for action would have more heft if he arrived at COP 26 with a deal on his climate change initiatives.
However, the slimmed-down bill likely doesn’t include a clean-electricity program that was one of its key provisions to combat climate change.
Mr. Biden insisted last week during a CNN town hall that the provision hasn’t been tossed because “nothing has been formally agreed to.”
The White House is prepared for congressional Democrats to miss this week’s deadline, as they have missed repeated deadlines to finish the massive bill.
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday that Mr. Biden would be “closely” engaged with White House officials and members of Congress on his agenda even while abroad.
“Even if it doesn’t happen before he leaves, the president can do the work that he needs to do abroad like many presidents before him have done,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said when asked whether negotiations would delay his trip.
Mr. Biden has continued his outreach to lawmakers to get his multitrillion-dollar economic and climate agenda past the finish line. On Sunday, Mr. Biden spoke with Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, who has objected to the price tag of Mr. Biden‘s proposals.
Mr. Manchin joined Mr. Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, for a breakfast meeting at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Initially, Mr. Biden‘s social welfare and climate bill cost $3.5 trillion. Mr. Biden and House Democrats were forced to trim the package and are now negotiating a roughly $2 trillion bill to satisfy moderate Democrats, most notably Mr. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.