- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2021

The chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm on Friday said the party’s lawmakers need to learn to be more discreet about the $3.5 trillion price tag of President Biden‘s social welfare bill.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, New York Democrat and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Democrats should instead focus on the substance of the legislation.

“I think it’s a very good chance. We are moving this forward methodically. We’re going to get it done in the next few weeks,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“And a little coaching, I think it would be wonderful, if instead of talking about whether it’s 2.5 (trillion) or 3.5 or 2.7 or 3.1, we actually talk about what’s in it. We actually talked about the substance.”

The bill includes a liberal wishlist of programs including tuition-free community college, government-paid family leave, expanded federal health care, amnesty for illegal immigrants and climate change initiatives. It’s the centerpiece of Mr. Biden‘s domestic agenda.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday delayed passage of the $3.5 trillion expansion of the social safety net, unable to finish drafting the legislative before leaving for the Yom Kippur holiday.

Democratic leaders are torn between the party’s progressive and moderates, trying to appease both fractions with little room for error in the narrowly divided chambers.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona made it clear they will not support the massive price tag. That’s enough to sink the legislation, which is being rammed through Congress in party-line votes and needs the support of all 50 Senate Democrats to succeed.

Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema met with Mr. Biden on Wednesday to discuss a “path forward,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

The two senators left the White House without indicating they had been swayed to back $3.5 trillion of spending.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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