September 30, 2023

(LR) Minority House Chairman Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet in the Oval Office on May 12, 2021 White House in Washington, DC. The government says President Biden hopes to find common ground in his meeting with the leaders of Congress.

Doug Mills | Pool | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden met the Democratic and Republican leaders of both Houses of Congress at the White House on Wednesday, the first time in his presidency that Biden has met personally with the so-called Big Four.

On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California attended, while Republicans were represented by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California. Vice President Kamala Harris also attended the meeting, which was held in the Oval Office.

“When I ran, I said I wasn’t going to be a Democratic President, I was going to be a President for all Americans. And the bottom line is we’ll see if we can reach consensus on a compromise,” Biden said at the beginning.

“We’re going to talk a lot about infrastructure today. And whether there is a way we can compromise that does the work of the people and is within the limits of everyone’s approval,” he said.

When asked how he would find consensus, Biden quipped, “Just, I just snap my fingers and it’ll happen.”

President Joe Biden snaps his fingers as he answers a reporter’s question during a meeting with congressional officials in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in Washington.

Evan Vucci | AP

The meeting takes place as part of negotiations between the White House and key members of Congress on key parts of Biden’s legislative agenda, including his roughly $ 4 trillion spending plan to rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure and fund affordable childcare a universal pre-K phase.

The first part of the two-part proposal is the US $ 2.3 trillion employment plan, which targets a wide range of infrastructure spending, spanning both traditional projects like roads, and more advanced endeavors like expanding broadband.

The second part of Biden’s agenda is the $ 1.8 trillion plan for American families, which will fund four more years of free universal education, subsidize childcare for middle-class families, and expand paid family vacations and tax credits for Provides children.

Republicans have already opposed both the price and the content of Biden’s plans.

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to reach down the aisle and find areas of consensus between the two parties, which he believed would help repair the deeply divided nation.

Republicans say, however, that Biden can only hope to gain bipartisan support for part of his legislative agenda by reducing his infrastructure plan to less than half its current size and not funding it with corporate tax hikes, as Biden suggests. but with usage fees for drivers and transit drivers.

As for the family and childcare plan, few, if any, potential areas of tradeoff have emerged to date.

Biden is also looking for similarities with a broken Republican Party, which further complicates the political calculation.

Wednesday’s meeting came just hours after House Republicans banned Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyo., From chairing the GOP conference for refusing to accept former President Donald Trump’s lie, that the 2020 elections had been rigged.

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