White House Shrugs at Halloween Deadline Set by Pelosi and Schumer: ‘Not Our Deadline’

President Joe Biden speaks about prescription drug prices and his "Build Back Better" agenda from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House on Tuesday downplayed a deadline set by Congressional Democrat leaders to press their party to pass the president’s multitrillion-dollar spending agenda by October 31.

“That’s not a deadline that we have proposed,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily press briefing when asked about the Halloween deadline.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set the Halloween deadline for Congress to act on Biden’s agenda, after blowing a September deadline for a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also set an October 31 deadline in an October 4 letter to his Senate colleagues.

“Our new legislative goal must be to get both the Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Agenda done by the end of October,” he wrote.

Psaki argued that the White House was “continuing to make progress” and “getting close to the final stages” on Biden’s agenda, as he continued to meet with moderate and progressive Democrats to plead for his agenda.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also expressed skepticism that Democrats could meet the Halloween deadline.

“There is an awful lot to go, I don’t know how that would happen,” he told reporters when asked about the deadline.

The president plans to leave the United States at the end of the month for a trip to Europe, where he will attend the G-20 summit on Oct. 30-31 and meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. On November 1-2, Biden will attend a climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

On Monday, Psaki stressed that the president’s trip should not be seen as a deadline for negotiations, noting Biden would still have access to the phones and video conference equipment to continue the negotiations.

She said that setting new deadlines were “not particularly constructive” despite questions from the media about the future of Biden’s agenda.

“It will come time soon to move forward and deliver for the American people,” she said.

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