President Biden will meet with a slew of lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, first for lunch with the Senate Democratic caucus before welcoming a bipartisan group of governors and mayors to the White House.
His meetings come after a group of Senate Democrats announced late Tuesday that they had reached a tentative agreement on a $3.5 trillion spending plan for the next decade.
The budget resolution, which Democrats hope to ram through the Senate with 51 votes through the parliamentary maneuver of reconciliation, is expected to be accompanied by a bipartisan infrastructure bill worth $1.2 trillion over eight years.
Biden, who has yet to comment on the Senate Democrats’ newly announced agreement, has been vocal in his support for two packages: one that would be passed with bipartisan support and one that would be passed through budget reconciliation.
Budget reconciliation allows the majority party to avoid the legislative filibuster, a Senate rule that requires 60 votes to end debate on most topics and move on to a vote.
The Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as Senate president and having a tie-breaking vote. Nonetheless, under current rules, 51 votes are insufficient to break the filibuster.
Reconciliation would allow Democrats to fund critical projects, but it could not be used to change or create laws.
Biden divided the package, which was a centerpiece of his post-COVID agenda, into two pieces for Congress to consider.
The first, the “American Jobs Plan,” is centered on infrastructure, while the second, the “American Families Plan,” is centered on funding Democrats’ domestic policy platform.
Republicans objected to the second package, claiming that it stretched the definition of “infrastructure.”
This month, Biden announced a deal on hard infrastructure spending with a bipartisan group led by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
That agreement, which has yet to be written or signed, could still fail, leaving Democrats almost certain to return to the $2.3 trillion partisan reconciliation bill or something similar.
In the event that the Senate deal falls through, House Democrats have continued to draft partisan legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has ruled out the possibility of the House passing the compromise package if the Senate does not act on the “Families Plan” legislation.
It remains to be seen how she will react to Senate Democrats’ new budget agreement, which Joe Biden will also discuss during his Senate caucus luncheon on Tuesday, “to lead us on to getting this wonderful plan,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.
After senators brief him on the proposal, he will meet with a group of mayors and governors to pitch the plans, including Democratic Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, as well as Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.