Building the big one: Behind the scenes of Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion bet
Yet the Biden team remains unfazed, and Congress and White House officials are aiming at the beginning of March to land on the bill's desk, which will mark it as the biggest piece of spending any president spends in his first 100 days.
The results of the Senate runoff election in Georgia came, lessons between President-elect Joe Biden's senior staff went late at night and the following morning. With the Senate majority on the line, and Washington's complete control in their fists, the result of the two Georgia races would determine what they all agreed was their top priority for the new administration - passing a large covid relief package. Opening week
They had been working for about two months, identifying needs and, regardless of cost, formulating the plan around them, on Biden's instruction. But if the Democrats win in Georgia, the plan will suddenly go from an aspiration to bargaining with Republicans as long as they keep their party united.
"Everyone understood for weeks what the effect of winning two Georgia races could be," Steve Rixheti, a longtime Biden consultant who would become a consultant. The president told CNN in an interview. "We invested a lot of time and effort into it, leading to it because we clearly understood what it could mean for our agenda."
For all of Biden's talk of biddership, Democrats now had the power to shift their top priority without a single Republican vote. This was the same situation as in 2009, when the Obama administration arrived in office during its first month to deliver a relief package. Democrats then reduced the size of the plan to garner some Republican support, one of which was regretted during the slow recovery following a decision.This time will be different. From the start, the common goal among Biden's team was big - even if it meant going solo.
At $ 1.9 trillion, the American Rescue Plan ranks second in size to last year's $ 2.2 trillion carriage act. When it was first unveiled to the public on January 14, there was a perception among Republicans and even some Democrats that Biden's nearly $ 2 trillion moon was an early proposal, a place to start negotiations. Which would inevitably lead to a smaller price tag.
But there will be no interaction with Biden's team. This was the number, and there was room for bargaining on items on the marginal side, but the top line was not moving.The story is based on interviews with more than two dozen officials from the White House, Capitol Hill, and outside interest groups, who worked directly with the campaign and transition to a legislative proposal that laid the foundation for the bid. CNN also spoke to Republican lawmakers and allies, who keep up with the size and pace of the package and the speed with which Biden has pushed it forward.
Last week, Democrats on Capitol Hill launched a legislative maneuver to draft a bill for reconciliation, with some prominent Republican senators convinced Biden is in a different position than his more progressive - and aggressive - staff. Other Republican senators have expressed a borderline blow to their former colleague's firm line.
Even Larry Summers, long considered one of the pre-eminent economists in the Democratic Party - though he is hated by many on the left - warned that the plan would cost too much money and like infrastructure Will exclude future funding for other progressive priorities. Education and Climate.
Yet the Biden team remains unfazed, and Congress and White House officials are aiming at the beginning of March to land on the bill's desk, which will mark it as the biggest piece of spending any president spends in his first 100 days. Has been enacted in. Bipartisan Senate negotiations are still ongoing, the assistant says. But with Democratic leaders in both houses aligned with the White House, there is little sense at the point that they will change the direction of things. There are definitely risks involved.
With the Senate 50-50 deadlock, the bill passed its first test last week, thanks only to Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaker vote when Democrats introduced it through their budget proposal. Although the party has remained united in the early weeks, a single senator can slow down or halt the process as a whole.
Sen. Joey Manchin, a former Virginia Democrat, kept the process on track - and breathed a sigh of relief among Democrats - when he said he would vote to move forward in a statement shortly before the vote. But it also included a warning for a wider package.
"Let me be clear - and these are words I've shared with President Biden - our focus should be on the COVID-19 crisis and the Americans who have been most affected by this epidemic," Manchin said.
But that high wire act did nothing to bring Biden and his team back."The way I see it, the biggest risk is not very big," Biden said in a macroeconomic speech on 5 February that outlined his hardline on the proposal. "If we are too young."
Creation of bill
The meetings began in November, long after the election called Biden. Before the presidential-election transition was officially gripped in gear, Biden's top advisers, many of whom would have found jobs in the White House, would gather daily - and always virtually - to learn the hash They become the foremost markers of their achievements. In his first 100 days in office.
From the beginning, he adopted a unique approach.Often, when spending bills are drafted, the top number first makes lawmen and officials understand what is possible and work downwards from there. But Biden's team says it started from the bottom and was built. Advisers say the figure of $ 1.9 trillion was not down until days before public release.
When they left, the goal was two-fold - to fund everything needed to end the epidemic, while putting out enough money to float the struggling Americans until things were back to normal. The proposal includes $ 160 billion for vaccine delivery and testing, $ 130 billion for K-12 schools, and $ 350 billion for state and local governments. This includes hundreds of billions in the form of assistance to families, including $ 1,400 in direct monthly payments, expanded nutrition assistance programs, expansion of emergency unemployment programs and large expansions of child tax and earned income tax, which benefits some level Extend to. The Economist Project could cut child poverty in half.
As the plan came together, administration officials said one priority was clear: Biden did not want a short-term infusion of incentives, with patches and temporary extensions to various aid provisions to preserve the economy for only a few months - He wanted long term assistance and lock in investment. Enough money not only to drive America out of the epidemic, but to fuel it for mass expansion in the future.
This marked a radically different approach from Congressional Republicans - one that would define negotiation destined for failure. Senate Republicans saw billions of billions of unimproved funds from previous relief packages and an economic picture that once showed signs of recovery as a sign of vaccination, carefully targeting any new aid.