WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden called numerous House lawmakers on Thursday to help rally support for his legislative agenda, four sources familiar with the matter told NBC News, as Democratic leaders laid the groundwork for Friday votes on both a social safety net bill and an infrastructure package that would cap months of internal party negotiations.
A Democratic leadership source said the House plans to vote on the two pieces of legislation Friday, and that leaders are feeling confident they will finish them in one day, a move that would hand Biden a major legislative victory at a time when his poll numbers are falling.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is aiming to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation and separately send the $550 billion Senate-passed infrastructure measure to Biden’s desk this week. Due to narrow margins, she cannot afford to lose more than three Democrats to ensure passage of the larger bill.
Democratic leaders seemed to be making progress on gaining consensus in the caucus on Thursday. After suggesting earlier in the day that the social policy bill would fail, moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, tweeted that he would vote for it.
The final outstanding issues in the social safety net bill — immigration, the cost of the legislation, and state and local tax (SALT) deductions — appeared to have been resolved by Thursday evening.
On the tax deductions, two sources told NBC News that negotiations have wrapped up and that the New York and New Jersey SALT caucus has signed off on them. The new provision would increase the annual $10,000 cap on deductions to $80,000.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said Congressional Hispanic Caucus members were “encouraged” after meeting with Pelosi on immigration, adding that she agreed to consider “ideas and legislation” after Biden’s economic agenda is passed.
Pelosi addressed concerns about the cost of the social safety net bill in a letter to Democratic colleagues Thursday evening touting a new White House estimate that said the bill was “fully paid for.” That followed an estimate by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation that found the Build Back Better bill would raise $1.47 trillion from new taxes.
The House Rules Committee on Thursday evening was expected to meet to discuss the final steps before the safety net legislation can head to the floor for a vote by all House lawmakers. The infrastructure bill is already cleared for a vote.