Democrats Say Reconciliation Deal Nearing Completion

Hoyer predicts deal could be reached within hours
By Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.
October 26, 2021 Updated: October 26, 2021

After months of delays and infighting, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly confident that they are on the home stretch in negotiations between moderates and progressives over the details of Democratsreconciliation bill.

Democrats are now months off schedule in passing their reconciliation bill, as internal party divisions have pushed leadership past deadline after deadline with no vote. These divisions, despite months of negotiations, have persisted.

While progressives have fought for an ambitious bill that meets their own vision, moderates have expressed concerns that the party may be going a step too far.

Now, Democrats say that these differences are close to a resolution.

During a press call, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted that a deal is imminent.

“The president’s working very hard on this, and the Speaker’s been working very hard on it. And so there’s a lot of work that’s been done and I think it could come together relatively quickly in the next few hours,” Hoyer said, predicting that the deal could be reached by Tuesday afternoon.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the 96-strong Congressional Progressive Caucus, also predicted that a resolution is near at hand—but set a far more conservative timetable.

“We’re close. We’re really close. And I think if we can just take another week and finalize all these details and get the language done on both the bills, I think we’ll be in good shape,” said Jayapal.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the party is in the final stages of reaching an agreement.

“The speaker has expressed optimism about reaching some agreement this week,” Jones reported. “I await that proposal, and I’m looking forward to delivering the president’s agenda on behalf of all Americans.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has consistently overestimated how soon the bill will be finalized, but she has insisted that around 90 percent of the bill has been finalized and agreed to.

According to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), President Joe Biden sees this period as crunch time to work out a deal.

“The president looked at us in the eye and he said, ‘I need this before I go represent the United States in Glasgow. American prestige is on the line,” Khanna reported the president as saying.

Democrats have focused on climate policy throughout the reconciliation process, demanding bold new measures to address the alleged “climate crisis.” Biden has set a goal to reduce U.S. emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030—a lofty goal, but one Democrats are desperate to meet.

But despite the optimism of these Democrats, an array of disagreements continue.

Because Democrats control the Senate by only one vote—including the vice president, who only votes in the event of a tie—they cannot spare a single defection. But a slew of moderates in the upper chamber have been all too willing to tank the bill if their demands are not met.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have been the most prominent critics of policies advanced by their party.

In early September, Manchin unilaterally rejected any reconciliation bill with a $3.5 trillion price tag; Sinema expressed the same. These defections have forced Democrats, including progressives, to hesitantly admit that the bill cannot pass at $3.5 trillion.

The final price tag has not been announced, but Manchin has indicated that he will only support a bill in the $1.5 trillion range.

Other issues have divided the party as well.

Manchin has been at the forefront of the opposition against a variety of climate proposals by his party. Coming from the coal-rich state of West Virginia, Manchin has been overtly against any methods that would hurt the coal industry. He has also rejected proposals to incentivize electric vehicles and a proposal to institute a carbon tax.

Sinema has spoken out against plans to increase corporate and income tax rates, which Democrats consider an essential aspect of the bill.

In the House, progressives and moderates have been waging a small-scale civil war over prescription drug pricing provisions.

Any deals will have to satisfy the demands of all factions involved, a tall order for Democratic leaders to meet on any timetable.

Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.