Progressives Blink First, Offer To Cut Spending Short To Reduce $3.5 Trillion Plan

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Oct 04, 2021 - 09:25 AM

House progressives have just become the first to blink in a congressional standoff with Senate moderates over the price tag on the Biden administration's massive domestic agenda - and are now open to scaling back programs by attaching expiration dates, rather than them be permanent according to Bloomberg.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), head of the 96-member Congressional Progressive Caucus

"One of the ideas out there is to fully fund what we can fully fund, but instead of funding it for 10 years, fund it for five years," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a statement to CBS's "Face the Nation."

The move comes days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceled a Friday vote on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which House progressives refuse to pass unless the $3.5 trillion 'social safety net' and taxes increases are passed alongside it. 

Now progressives - coached by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, say they'll come down on the $3.5 trillion 'within limits' - balking at moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin's offer of $1.5 trillion.

"That’s not going to happen," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told CNN's "State of the Nation" on Sunday. "Because that’s too small to get our priorities in. So, it’s going to be somewhere between $1.5 and $3.5. And I think the White House is working on that right now, because, remember, what we want to deliver is child care, paid leave, climate change, housing."

More via Bloomberg:

On Thursday, Manchin said he was willing to accept as much as $1.5 trillion if it meant getting infrastructure passed, and if liberal Democrats want more they should “elect more liberals.”

Jayapal said reducing the length of time for authorizing that spending could provide a path forward. Federal budget rules tally spending in 10-year budget windows, so authorizing spending for only five years would significantly cut down the price tag. 

Cedric Richmond, a White House senior adviser, wouldn’t commit to a timeline or a price tag. But he said having programs expire could be a possibility. “We don’t look at this as a number. We look at this as what programs are we going to deliver?” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

That said, House progressives say that several items in Biden's "Build Back Better" plan are non-negotiable, such as climate programs. 

"The clean-electricity standards really do need to be in there for a 10-year period, because it takes time to cut carbon emissions," said Jayapal. "And we need to have that certainty in order for the market to move in that direction."