Biden to meet Democrats on Capitol Hill just ahead of his trip to Europe

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(Bloomberg) – President Joe Biden will travel to Capitol Hill on Thursday, hours before his departure for summits in Europe, to brief House Democrats on his economic agenda, as a congressional deal to endorse it remains elusive, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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Biden wanted to have a deal, or at least a cadre of one, on his broad spending plan when he arrived for a Group of 20 leaders’ rally in Rome, followed by the United Nations climate summit in Scotland.

According to the president’s schedule, he “will deliver a speech” at the White House late Thursday morning before leaving for Italy. The visit to the Capitol was not on the program.

Democrats in the House and Senate were unable to come to an agreement on Wednesday to resolve disputes over how to pay the huge spending bill. A separate infrastructure measure has already been passed by the Senate, but House progressives have demanded that the spending program be passed first.

As disagreements over various tax plans continued, Democrats appeared ready to drop the proposal’s paid family leave. Giving workers up to 12 weeks of family leave was a key part of Biden’s plan and one of the central goals of the Progressive Democrats. But he was opposed by Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, whose equally divided Senate vote is critical in passing.

Biden’s struggle to implement his legislative agenda has cast doubt on whether the United States can lead the world in tackling climate change, post-pandemic economic recovery, or other priorities. Initial optimism that he would overturn former President Donald Trump’s autonomous approach faded after a catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan and a nuclear submarine deal with the UK and Australia that angered France.

Biden plans to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Rome on Friday, the White House said.

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