President Joe Biden hosted critical moderate Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at his home in Delaware on Sunday in a push to finalize an agreement on a sweeping economic and climate package, a White House official told CNN.
As a critical week for Biden’s agenda begins, the House is looking at voting on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday or Thursday, according to a source briefed on the plans, and having a detailed agreement on the larger social safety net package before then to help convince progressives to vote for the bipartisan measure.
It’s unclear what the final price tag will be on the larger plan, but the source said that Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has informed Democratic leaders he’s open to $1.75 trillion.
The President is pressing Democrats to come to an agreement before he departs for Europe this week and has shifted sharply to bring the months-long negotiations to an end in recent days, as Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue press to clinch a deal on the cornerstone piece of their domestic legislative agenda. The invite was a rare move for Biden; unlike former President Donald Trump, he has not made a habit of inviting lawmakers to his house for meetings.
Biden, Schumer and Manchin had a “productive discussion” about the President’s agenda and the trio “continued to make progress,” according to a White House readout of the breakfast meeting. The group “will have their staffs work on follow-ups from the meeting, and agreed to stay in close touch with each other and the wide range of members who have worked hard on these negotiations,” the readout said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had expressed optimism that the particulars of the bill would be finalized during Sunday’s meeting among Biden, Schumer and Manchin, but the gathering had been unlikely to result in a final deal or even a preliminary agreement on a framework for Democrats to unveil, officials familiar had said. Instead, it had been meant to discuss still-outstanding issues in the talks and hopefully move forward in certain areas where Manchin remains a hold-out, which include climate provisions, Medicare expansion and paid leave.
Manchin’s trip to Delaware was first reported by Politico.
Manchin has been one of two key holdouts on the package, and has succeeded in scaling back the scope of the bill on several fronts, from the overall cost to key elements ranging from climate provisions to the length and scope of the expanded child tax credit.
But several of Manchin’s concerns have yet to be reconciled, as Democrats battle over key elements like the push for an expansion of Medicare for hearing, vision and dental coverage, as well as a more modest national paid leave program proposal, and whether it will make it into the final proposal, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
The talks were scheduled for the morning at around the same time first lady Jill Biden was departing Wilmington for a policy-focused trip to Michigan.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
Manu Raju contributed to this story.