The Slatest

Jayapal on Manchin’s Proposed $1.5 Trillion Price Tag for Economic Bill: “Not Going to Happen”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to members of the press outside a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on October 1, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks to members of the press outside a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on October 1, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal suggested she was open to the idea of reducing the price tag on the spending package on climate change and social policies from the current $3.5 trillion. But she made clear she wouldn’t accept something as low as $1.5 trillion, which is what Sen. Joe Manchin has been saying is his ceiling. Jayapal, the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said the $1.5 trillion price tag was “too small” but refused to specify whether she would accept something closer to $2.1 trillion.

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“That’s not going to happen,” Jayapal said on CNN when asked about the $1.5 trillion number. “That’s too small to get our priorities in. It’s going to be somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5, and I think the White House is working on that right now because, remember, what we want to deliver is childcare, paid leave and climate change, housing.” Jayapal refused to get too detailed on what that number could be though, saying that the spending plan has “never been about the price tag” and rather is about “what we want to deliver.” The lawmaker from Washington said that trying to take the focus away from the price tag was actually what President Joe Biden had advised. “He said, ‘Don’t start with the number. Start with what you’re for’,” Jayapal said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders also sent the message Sunday that even though he didn’t like the idea of lowering the bill’s price tag, it now seems inevitable. “Three and a half trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there’s gonna have to be a give and take,” Sanders said on ABC’s This Week. “What the president is saying is that what we are trying to do is for the working families of this country, for the children, for the elderly, we’re trying to pass the most consequential piece of legislation since the Great Depression, and he’s right, you know?”

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As House moderates express anger at the Democratic leadership for delaying a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill so the two measures can be passed in tandem, the White House is trying to make clear negotiations can continue. White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond said Sunday that there is no set timeline for the passage of the bills. “We don’t have a time frame on it. This is just about delivering and making sure that we deliver both bills to the American people because it meets their needs,” Richmond said on Fox News Sunday. “We’re not using an artificial timeline, and we’re not concerned with process.”

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