In a rare visit to the US Capitol, President Joe Biden tried on Friday to end a fight between the moderate and progressive wings of his Democratic Party that threatened to torpedo his domestic agenda.
Faced with a moderate faction that wanted an immediate vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a progressive arm that wanted to wait until there was agreement on a sweeping $3.5 trillion bill to bolster social spending and fight climate change, Biden sought to split the difference.
The former senator told his caucus during a 40-minute meeting that they could delay a vote on the smaller bill and sharply scale back the larger one to around $2 trillion. But his message that there was no rush belied the fact that Congress faces multiple approaching critical deadlines.
"It doesn't matter whether it's in six minutes, six days or in six weeks. We're going to get it done," Biden said.
A source familiar with Biden's remarks at the meeting said he told lawmakers, "Even a smaller bill can make historic investments."