U.S. House Democrats reach tentative deal on Biden agenda

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WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives teed up a vote to advance key parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda on Tuesday after reaching a tentative compromise between moderates and progressives over which elements should take priority.

The House was due to vote in the afternoon on a package that would advance Biden’s ambitious plan for trillions of dollars to expand child care and other social programs, championed by the party’s progressive wing.

It also would guarantee a vote by Sept. 27 on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a priority for moderate Democrats.

The deal was reached after intraparty disagreements forced Democrats to postpone action on Monday.

Biden’s fellow Democrats have little room for error as they try to approve the two massive spending initiatives in the House and Senate, where the party holds razor-thin majorities.

“These negotiations are never easy,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern after his panel approved the deal. “I think it was Hillary Clinton who says it takes a village. I say it takes a therapist.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had hoped to quickly approve a $3.5 trillion budget outline https://www.reuters.com/world/us/paid-leave-clean-energy-preschool-democrats-35-trln-plan-2021-08-09, which would enable lawmakers to begin filling in the details on a sweeping package that would boost spending on child care, education and other social programs and raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

But centrist Democrats, led by Representative Josh Gottheimer, had refused to go along, saying the House must first pass the infrastructure bill https://www.reuters.com/world/us/whats-us-senates-bipartisan-1-trillion-infrastructure-bill-2021-08-03, which has already won approval by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.

Liberals, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have said they will not support the smaller package without the larger one, fearing they will lose leverage.

Democrats hold a narrow 220-212 majority in the House and Republicans have said they will not support the budget plan.

Democratic Representative Richard Neal said negotiations have grown more complex as the dispute has spilled out into the open.

“We always anticipated that this would be a long slog,” he told reporters.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Susan Heavey Writing by Andy Sullivan Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

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