The White House is scrambling to hammer out a deal that could trim the cost of a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill to help pass President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
During her daily news briefing, Psaki said negotiations involving moderate and progressive Democrats were “obviously at a precarious and important time” following Biden’s decision to cancel a planned trip to Chicago and instead engage in “around the clock” talks.
Psaki also left open the possibility that Biden would attend Wednesday night’s annual Congressional Baseball Game and visit Capitol Hill on Thursday.
“We’ve ruled nothing out,” she said.
“But we make a lot of these decisions hour by hour.”
Meanwhile, both Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, sources said.
In response to a question from a reporter who said progressives had “staked out a new number” of no less than $2.5 trillion for the budget bill, Psaki said, “I think it’s pretty clear we’re in the middle of a negotiation and that everybody’s going to have to give a little.”
“So, I will let them speak to what they might be comfortable with, what they’d be comfortable supporting and voting for,” she said.
“But certainly, we knew that part of this would be potentially coming down in numbers.”
Psaki downplayed a meeting between White House officials and Sen. Krysten Sinema.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
Psaki also tried to downplay a Wednesday trip by White House staffers to meet with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Capitol Hill, following a series of meetings with the key Senate moderate at the White House a day earlier.
“We go up there a lot,” she said.
“It’s a quick cab ride, happy to do it and not a big deal at all on our end.”
Pelosi has scheduled a Thursday vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework that passed the Senate, but a progressive Democratic House member told The Post on Wednesday, “I have no f–ing clue” if that would happen.
“I think it’s the White House has to really start weighing in,” the lawmaker added.