US President Joe Biden has arrived in Europe for two international summits, leaving his $ 2.75 trillion (£ 2 trillion) internal agenda in Washington limbo.
Mr Biden had hoped to wave an exceptional environmental package to other world leaders at a climate conference in the UK.
But his fellow Democrats abandoned plans for a vote on Thursday, leaving his entire platform up in the air.
Mr. Biden, whose approval rating is declining, said his own presidency was in the balance.
He landed in Rome early Friday for a G20 summit where plans for a global minimum tax will be on the agenda.
The second American Catholic president will also meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday.
On Sunday evening he will travel to Scotland for the UN climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow.
Biden will try to project the message that the United States is back in the fight against global warming after his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.
- The odd couple blocking Biden’s climate agenda
Before leaving the White House for Rome, Biden presented a reduced spending plan that was the product of months of bargaining.
He pleaded with fellow Democrats at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill to support his legislative plans, saying he wanted to demonstrate during the two summits that US democracy still works.
“The rest of the world is wondering if we can work,” was quoted by the US media.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged grassroots Democrats not to embarrass Biden by rebelling.
But the more liberal members of the party refused to join the plans without a guarantee that both spending packages would be voted on in tandem.
What’s in the new proposed spending plan?
- 555 billion dollars aimed at combating climate change, mainly through tax incentives for renewable and low-emission energy sources
- 400 billion dollars for free and universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds
- $ 150 billion to build one million affordable housing units
Biden is first trying to rally Democrats around a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, which has already been approved by the Senate.
It is also looking to pass a reduced bill costing at least $ 1.75 trillion, which the White House calls Build Back Better.
Green spending would seek to dramatically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, provide new tax breaks for electric vehicles, and implement solar panels on American homes.
It also includes $ 100 billion for unspecified reforms to the nation’s immigration system, according to US media. The president argued that the spending will be paid for entirely by tax hikes on corporations and multimillionaires.
Left-wing Senator Bernie Sanders said it was “probably the most consequential bill since the 1960s,” but added there were some big gaps.
Progressives are unhappy that the plan doesn’t include paid family leave, free community colleges, a major health care expansion, a billionaire tax, or lower prescription drug prices.
Skeptics of the bill also asked to see the text of the legislation, leading the House of Representatives to release 1,684 pages on Thursday.
The original price for the proposal was $ 3.5 trillion, but it was cut in half at the insistence of two moderate Democratic senators who could condemn the bill in the equally divided Senate.
The objections of Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona infuriated the liberal wing of the party.
On Thursday, Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema made tepid statements that they still refused to support the president’s reduced bill.
The House will not vote on the infrastructure bill until next week. Mr. Biden is expected to return to Washington on Wednesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden can still try to manipulate the laws over the phone from Rome.
The president’s job approval rate, meanwhile, plummeted to 42.5% in RealClearPolitics’ poll average.
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- Joe Biden
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