Biden Pitching $4.1T Spending: 'Snap My Fingers, It Will Happen' President Joe Biden snaps his fingers as he responds to a reporters question during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)
By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 12 May 2021 12:12 PM
Pitching another $4.1 trillion in combined spending, President Joe Biden met with congressional leadership Wednesday on ways forward on both the $2.3 trillion green infrastructure and $1.8 trillion American families plans.
"We're going to talk a lot about infrastructure today to see if there's any way we can reach a compromise that gets the peoples' work done and is within the bounds of why we ran," Biden told reporters before ushering them out of the Oval Office.
Biden met with the Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate, attempting to weigh how to get the packages passed in the evenly split Senate while the filibuster and the 60-vote threshold seems insurmountable with little GOP support.
"Snap my fingers, it will happen," Biden joked, when asked how he might turn the opposition on to his spending plans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have openly vowed "100% of our focus on stopping" Biden's massive spending.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also were attending, but they already have their entire caucus voting yes to spend $4.1 trillion and they will move no one on the Republican side.
The White House has said it wants to move something in Congress by Memorial Day, leaving just a few weeks to work toward a seemingly difficult compromise.
One of the sticking points — outside of GOP reluctance to spend on socialist programs — are the pay-fors. Biden seeks to raise the corporate tax rate from the Trump-reduced rate of 21% to 28%, while moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has floated a compromise at 25%.
Biden also wants to raise taxes on households making more than $400,000 annually. Republicans argue the spending will create widespread inflation that amounts to taxes on lower-income Americans.
There is some agreement on the need for infrastructure, particularly as it relates to road, bridges, seaports, and airports. McConnell has even upped the GOP counterproposal of $568 billion to as high as $800 billion, but that is still $1.5 trillion short of the Biden plan, which has its roots in the modern-day New Deal and features progressive Green New Deal initiates on an American energy makeover and climate-change spending.
Senate Democrats could move a bill through with just 50 Democrat and independent votes — along with Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaker — but doing so would require undoing the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to pass a bill or using the budget reconciliation tactic.
Budget reconciliation has been used to squeeze partisan votes through the Senate under the argument the bill impacts Congress' annual spending.