Democrats say they're 'pretty much there' on social spending bill agreement

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, walks through the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, walks through the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21. (Elizabeth Frantz, Reuters )


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WASHINGTON — Democrats have almost reached an agreement on a pared-down social spending bill that contains some of U.S. President Joe Biden's priorities and plan to vote on that and an infrastructure bill in the coming week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday.

"I think we're pretty much there now," Pelosi said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" as Biden held a breakfast meeting in Delaware with fellow Democrats Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate who has objected to parts of the bill.

A White House official said the senators were meeting at Biden's home in Delaware but did not give details.

Democrats have struggled to agree on a framework of $2 trillion or less that will allow the House of Representatives to move forward next week on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and set the stage for passage of Biden's larger "Build Back Better" social and climate-change package.

"Schumer and Manchin are having the meeting on some of the particulars that need to be finalized. I'm optimistic that we can do that," Pelosi said.

Asked if votes on the two bills would be held in the coming week, Pelosi said, "That's the plan."

Disagreements over the scale of the larger package have held up Biden's domestic agenda, with progressive Democrats in the House refusing to vote for the infrastructure bill, which has already been passed by the Senate, until a deal is reached on social programs and climate change.

Moderate Democrats, most notably Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, had objected to the original $3.5 trillion price tag and some provisions of the latter bill. Republicans oppose the measure, but 19 in the Senate voted in support of the infrastructure legislation.

Pelosi said on Friday there were only a few outstanding issues on the legislation's health care provisions and that decisions also remained on which revenue provisions to include.

Contributing: Doina Chiacu, Michael Martina, Jarrett Renshaw and Richard Cowan

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