President Biden on Thursday unveiled a new $1.75 trillion package to overhaul the country’s health-care, education, climate and tax laws, muscling through a slew of policy disagreements and internecine political feuds that had stalled his economic agenda for months.
The announcement marked a critical moment in Biden’s tenure, prompting the president to pay a visit to Capitol Hill and call on Democrats to adopt the spending along with a second, roughly $1.2 trillion package to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections.
“We spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this,” Biden said in televised remarks. “No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus, and that’s what I ran on.”
Biden’s moves reflect a pivotal decision to assume ownership of the sweeping safety net proposal in a new way. He is investing enormous political capital in the new plan — which follows days of intensive, secretive meetings with key lawmakers — and is essentially warning any wary Democrats that they risk damaging him and the party if they do not get on board.
Is this bill disappointing compared to initial proposals? Yes. Did Manchin and Sinema make the bill worse for no coherent reasons? Yes. Is the fact that a $1.75 trillion spending bill combined with a decent infrastructure bill is the centrist compromise a sign of a real advance in the party? Also yes.