- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said expanding Obamacare will be a top priority when breaking up President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social welfare bill and climate bill to try to pass it in pieces.

She insisted that breaking up the bill would not reduce the major impact each piece has on Americans’ lives.

“What the president calls ‘chunks’ I would hope would be a major bill going forward. It may be more limited, but it is, still significant,” said Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat. “Important in the legislation is that millions more people will have access to health care at a very low cost because of what is in the bill in terms of expanding the Affordable Care Act.”

Mrs. Pelosi said other items Democrats will focus on include restoring direct payments to parents, subsidized child care, universal pre-school and home health care for the elderly.

Mr. Biden on Wednesday announced during a press conference that Democrats will try to pass his economic agenda in “chunks” after the big bill died in the Senate.

Mrs. Pelosi cautioned, however, that while she and other Democrats are willing to pare back the bill and seek bipartisan ground, she will not limit her “vision for America to what Republicans will agree to in terms of roads and bridges.” She was referring to the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was enacted in November.

Other Democrats also see the pivot to health care as a winner after the $1.75 trillion bill known as the Build Back Better Act sunk when Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, announced his opposition to the bill over its high price and potential to fuel inflation.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, said the legislation is “dead” but its measures on education, health care, workforce “and things like reduced child care and education expenses,” could still pass as standalone bills.

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

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