Joe Biden Meets with Divided Democrats to Salvage Agenda as $3.5 Trillion Dream Dies

President Joe Biden attends a virtual coronavirus summit during the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, September 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden continues negotiating with Democrats on a massive entitlement spending bill, even after acknowledging it will fall short of his initial $3.5 trillion price tag.

The president acknowledged last week he would fall short of his spending goal, after Senate moderates refused to drop their opposition.

“Look, it’s clear that it’s not going to be $3.5 trillion. So, the question is: How much of what is important do we get into the legislation?” Biden told reporters on Friday.

Biden will meet with House progressives and the Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen on Tuesday afternoon followed by a second meeting with a group of House moderates.

But the future of Biden’s agenda relies a lot on support from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The president will meet again with Sinema on Tuesday, according to reports and spoke with Manchin on the phone on Monday.

Manchin met with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday after the Vermont Senator picked a fight by publishing an op-ed in a Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Manchin fired back in a statement, criticizing the “self-declared Independent socialist” for trying to influence Democrat voters in his state.

“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state,” he wrote.

After their meeting, Manchin publicly appeared with Sanders and even posed for a photo to show that they were still talking.

“We’re talking,” they both said.

“We’re going to make some progress,” Sanders said.

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