Democrats wonder how to lower the cost of their social spending plan: NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

As moderate Democrats press their party to cut their partisan social spending program by $ 3.5 trillion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said on Tuesday that the way forward may involve to shorten the shelf life of several major programs of the plan aimed at comprehensive pricing.

“We have important decisions to make in the next few days so that we can continue,” Pelosi said, adding that the main pillars of the legislation could remain intact but work for shorter time frames. “I’m very disappointed that we weren’t using the original $ 3.5 trillion, which was very transformative, but… whatever we do, we will be making decisions that will continue to be transformative.”

Pelosi said Democrats can craft a scaled-down version of their $ 3.5 trillion bill while addressing the three main areas of the so-called “Built Back Better” program: climate change, healthcare and family issues such as job security and support for women in the workplace.

She made the remarks to reporters following a letter to her caucus on Monday about the “tough decisions” ahead and that she heard members say they would like to do “less well.”

Pelosi has acknowledged that it is possible that some programs will eventually need to be removed from the plan, but first wants to shorten the timeline for all major provisions of the bill in hopes of reaching a lower figure closer to 2. Trillion dollars.

“We’re still talking about a few trillions of dollars,” Pelosi told reporters. “But it’s a lot less, so most of the time we’d reduce the number of years and something like that.”

Pelosi said key Democrats’ pillars could remain, such as universal preschool, the child tax credit, Medicare extensions, paid family medical leave and tuition-free community college opportunities.

The key, she said, is to reach agreement on a plan that will be approved by both the House and the Senate.

The challenge on how to move the package forward comes as House Democrats returned on Tuesday for a rare vote during a scheduled break to approve short-term legislation to raise the debt ceiling to 3 December. The equally divided Senate passed the measure last week. after Republicans offered a respite from a partisan deadlock over the debt ceiling, which was due to be reached next Monday, October 18.

“In the meantime, we will work to try to have bipartisanship as we always had,” she said of future hopes of finding a more permanent deal to settle the debt ceiling.

Pelosi, who attended international conferences last weekend, noted that negotiations continue on the social spending package, where agreement is still needed to move this bill forward in tandem with a bipartisan bill. on $ 1.5 trillion infrastructure still awaiting a vote in the House. .

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