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House Budget Committee votes to pass the $3.5 trillion spending bill


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By Kristin Wilson, Alex Rogers and Manu Raju, CNN

The House Budget Committee voted Saturday to pass the $3.5 trillion spending bill out of committee and send it to the House floor.

The vote was 20 to 17 with Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of California joining Republicans to vote against the bill. It came as a necessary step for the bill to reach the full House floor, where it can be amended.

Democrats have been struggling to pass President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, including the massive tax and spending bill that would expand education, health care and childcare support, address the climate crisis and make further investments in infrastructure.

The bill has raised concerns among moderates who worry some of the measures, including on drug pricing and climate, go too far, as progressives say they’ve already compromised enough. Republicans are united in their opposition to it.

During its Saturday meeting, the House Budget committee could not change what other committees have already voted to approve.

Where Biden’s economic agenda stands

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to pass a separate, bipartisan, roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday, a month after it passed the Senate. But progressives are pushing for the Democratic caucus to first finish writing the $3.5 trillion measure, which could shrink due to the moderates’ wishes.

Although the White House and Democratic congressional leaders earlier this week announced a deal on a framework of a “menu of options” to finance the bills, Biden on Friday said negotiations on Capitol Hill over his economic agenda had reached a “stalemate” as sharp disagreements between moderate and progressive members of his party threaten to derail his plans.

The President said Friday at the White House he was confident Democrats would ultimately reach an agreement and that he would sign the bipartisan infrastructure package — which includes funding for roads and bridges, money for transit and rail, a broadband upgrade and an upgrade for airports, ports and waterways — as well as the $3.5 trillion package to expand the nation’s social safety net into law.

“Now we’re at this stalemate at the moment and we’re going to have to get these two pieces of legislation passed. Both need to be passed,” Biden told reporters Friday.

Democrats are scrambling to strike a deal while facing a series of deadlines this fall. Congress must also pass legislation by September 30 to fund the federal government and by mid-October to raise the debt ceiling in order to pay the country’s bills.

Senate Democrats want to pass a bill next week addressing both of those issues on a bipartisan basis. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has told them that if they want to pass new legislation costing trillions of dollars, they should raise the debt ceiling on their own.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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