The Reconciliation Package Finally Takes Shape

October 20, 2021

Yesterday’s meetings between President Joe Biden and various groups of Democrats at the White House yielded some specifics about which programs will likely be in or out of the final package. The climate piece seems amorphous still — no doubt due to the fossil fuel-loving proclivities of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The package Biden outlined dropped in price to the high $1 trillions, a clear sign of Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) influence. Some cuts, like two years of free community college, will be bitterly disappointing to progressives. Some, like the child tax credit only being extended for a year or two are strategic — paring back on the cost while betting that even Republicans won’t be politically able to thrust millions of children back into poverty when it expires.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emphasized Wednesday morning that these details from Biden’s meeting are not a “decision” — in other words, things are still in flux.

The White House and congressional leadership want a meaty framework with a topline and all the key programmatic elements agreed to by the end of the month. While this process has been replete with fits and starts, they’ve been making significant progress towards that goal this week and members think it can happen.

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