Biden’s schedule is open this week. Here’s why it’s intentional.

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(Samuel Corum / Getty Images)

President Biden is entering the most seismic week of his legislative agenda, explicitly set to miss a deadline and implicitly knowing he will soon have to bow to a Republican blockade on another.

Feverish talks over the weekend led to easing rhetorical pressure within the party, but still left Democrats miles from a clear path to their sweeping two-pronged $ 4 trillion agenda , according to several people directly involved.

Every item on Biden’s agenda is live this week.

The vote on his Senate’s $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is now expected to take place on Thursday. The political loopholes in Democrats’ multibillion-dollar social safety net are significant, even as Democratic leaders say they plan to bring it up for review this week.

And Republicans are determined to block Democrats’ efforts to help them raise the debt ceiling on Monday night.

It’s a mess, but those three elements – despite self-imposed deadlines, promises from leaders, and wishes from various wings of the Democratic Party – do not need to be addressed this week.

The government funding bill does. And, if we come to the end of the week without a resolution on this one issue alone, the federal government will close its doors.

Biden, on his return from Camp David, hit the same point as House Democrats – it’s going to take a while.

“I’m optimistic about this week,” Biden told reporters, adding that “it’s going to take the best part of the week, I think.”

Biden was on the phone with lawmakers throughout the weekend, and his top legislative negotiators, Steve Ricchetti, Louisa Terrell, and National Economic Council director Brian Deese have more or less worked directly over the past few days and nights, according to two people familiar with the matter. .

Overall, White House officials have expressed concern about the way forward even though there remains, in the words of one official, “a fairly explicit confidence that history shows if the speaker is involved. , it will work in our direction ”.

Yet no one has a clear idea of ​​the exact path to take on the pair of bills that make up not only Biden’s national agenda, but also the central tenet of his presidency: showing government can work will serve as a central tenet of his presidency. key to calming the anti-Washington fervor that is sweeping the country.

Those are the real issues here for Biden. This is not a whip’s account or a particular political dispute. He has made it clear, on several occasions, that it is so much bigger than that in his opinion. Playing the game of expectations for these bills, Biden didn’t cover. And now it’s all at stake.

Learn more about where things stand here.


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