Biden heads to Capitol Hill to meet with House Democrats amid infighting

His move comes as Democrats are at an impasse over passing his agenda.

October 01, 2021, 4:45 PM

President Joe Biden went to Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to meet with House Democrats, White House officials said, amid party infighting that has put his legislative agenda in jeopardy.

Biden, who has kept a low public profile most of the week while negotiating behind the scenes trying to break the impasse, spoke behind doors with liberal and moderate lawmakers for about half an hour.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden arrives with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to meet with Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol to promote his bipartisan infrastructure bill, Oct. 1, 2021.
President Joe Biden arrives with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to meet with Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol to promote his bipartisan infrastructure bill, Oct. 1, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

As he emerged, he told reporters, "I’m telling you, we’re gonna get this done."

He added, "It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has twice had to delay a vote on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan Biden supports because progressive Democrats are vowing to defeat it unless they also get a vote on $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate policy measure he also supports -- but one that two moderate Democratic senators have objected to as too costly.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden arrive to meet with House Democrats to rescue his social and economic agenda that has been threatened by the progressive wing of the party, at the Capitol, Oct. 1, 2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden arrive to meet with House Democrats to rescue his social and economic agenda that has been threatened by the progressive wing of the party, at the Capitol, Oct. 1, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Beforehand, some Democrats said they were excited to be hearing from Biden directly and some had complained in recent days that he was not more involved in negotiations.

"He's going over there to make the case for his legislative agenda, which includes the infrastructure bill, and it includes his Build Back Better agenda that would be in the reconciliation package, so he wants to speak directly to members, answer their questions and make the case for why we should all work together to give the American people more breathing room," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters shortly before Biden was scheduled to leave for the Capitol.

PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 1, 2021.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 1, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Asked whether he expected to walk out of there with an agreement, Pskai said, "I’m not going to make a prediction of whether there will or won't be a vote. I'll leave that to Speaker Pelosi to determine when she will call a vote. But he's making the case he believes it’s -- it's the right time for him to go up there."

"The case that the White House is making is that compromise requires everybody giving little. That's the stage we're in. But no matter where we end, if we can get something done here, we're going to have a historic piece of legislation passed Congress that's going to have a huge impact on the American people," she added.

PHOTO: The motorcade carrying President Joe Biden travels to the Capitol, Oct. 1, 2021.
The motorcade carrying President Joe Biden travels to the Capitol, Oct. 1, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
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