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Biden to discuss Build Back Better social spending bill with House Democrats before heading to Europe


Washington – President Biden is due to meet with House Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to update them on plans to pass his social spending program and the bipartisan infrastructure plan, White House officials told CBS News.

The president will then return to the White House to address the nation “on the way forward for its economic agenda and the next steps to get there,” according to the White House. Shortly after noon, several hours later than originally scheduled, Mr Biden will fly to Rome for a Friday meeting with Pope Francis and a summit with the leaders of the Group of 20.

Mr Biden’s visit to Capitol Hill comes as negotiations continue between Senate Democrats over his social spending plan, known as Build Back Better. Democratic lawmakers were haggling over the final details of the legislation on Wednesday, with the fate of a new paid family leave plan – a signing campaign pledge by Mr Biden and Congressional Democrats – in doubt amid the opposition from Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

But Senate Democrats, including Cory Booker and Patty Murray, insisted no final decisions had been made on paid family leave, a provision supported by progressives as well as a number of moderates. Mr Biden told a town hall last week that the proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave could be reduced to four weeks.

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal told reporters outside Capitol on Wednesday that more than 40 members of her caucus would vote against the infrastructure bill, which was approved by the Senate, if it was debated before the social spending plan was completed and approved. by Manchin and another Democratic resistance fighter, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Mr. Biden and key White House aides met with House lawmakers Tuesday afternoon. One member described the President as a “master negotiator” who “creates momentum to get there”.

While the White House had hoped it had landed on a final bill before Mr Biden traveled to Europe, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday she was preparing to continue talks while he was away. “There are phones on Air Force One and phones in Europe,” Psaki said.

The first stop on Mr. Biden’s trip will be the Vatican, where he will meet Pope Francis. Psaki said on Wednesday that Mr. Biden, who is Catholic, and Pope Francis will discuss a “range of issues” including poverty, tackling the climate crisis, ending the COVID-19 pandemic. the pope will meet.

Mr Biden will then travel to Rome for the Group of 20 world leaders summit, and then to Glasgow for the United Nations climate summit, known as COP26.

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