White House adviser Cedric Richmond said the administration now plans to focus on the passage of the $1.75 trillion social spending package after the House approved the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last week.
“We need to get it done,” Richmond told Fox News on Nov. 7 about the social spending package, which includes funding to expand social programs and “climate”-related programs.
“We need to get it done now because if you look at the 17 Nobel Prize-winning economists, they said that it will ease inflationary pressures, help with the supply chain and invest in the human capital in this country all at one time,” he said, without identifying the economists during the segment.
The House late on Nov. 5 approved the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, with about a dozen Republican lawmakers joining nearly all Democrats to advance the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. The vote occurred following months of back-and-forth negotiations that saw splits occur between progressive and centrist members of the Democratic Party.
The rival factions have spent recent weeks accusing each other of jeopardizing Biden’s and the party’s success by overplaying their hands and have publicly expressed a deep distrust of each other.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) has repeatedly said he wouldn’t back an earlier version of the social spending bill, which totaled $3.5 trillion before it was pared to $1.75 trillion. Over the weekend, Manchin said Democrats need to “slow down” deliberations on the bill after the infrastructure bill cleared the House.
Republicans have been unanimous in their opposition to the social spending package. During remarks on the House floor last week, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the bill would grant mass amnesty to illegal immigrants, create a new natural gas tax, and hire 87,000 more IRS agents.
“It’s a socialist takeover of America,” he said. “No wonder they’re doing it in the dark of night.”
The infrastructure bill’s passage comes as one Democratic gubernatorial candidate was defeated in Virginia and an incumbent was a narrow winner in New Jersey, both of them blue-leaning states. Those setbacks made party leaders—and moderates and progressives alike—impatient to produce impactful legislation and demonstrate that they know how to govern. However, some analysts argued that Democrats’ focus on controversial social issues, including whether critical race theory should be taught in classrooms, contributed to the loss in Virginia.
Biden, meanwhile, will visit the Port of Baltimore on Nov. 10 to promote the infrastructure bill, the White House said on Nov. 7.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.