President Biden canceled a trip to Chicago planned for Wednesday, and will remain in Washington, D.C., amid stalled negotiations over Democrats’ infrastructure legislation, the White House said on Tuesday.
Biden “will now remain at the White House tomorrow to continue working on advancing” a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and additional $3.5 trillion spending plan, a White House official told pool reporters. Biden was initially set to discuss “the ongoing importance of getting people vaccinated” in Chicago, the official said.
The announcement came amid continued gridlock among Democrats over passing the two spending initiatives. The $1.2 trillion bill focuses on infrastructure, while the $3.5 trillion plan was intended to fund universal preschool and community college, initiatives to combat climate change, and various other components.
Progressive Democrats are insisting on passing the two bills together. However, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) has pushed back against the price tag of the $3.5 trillion plan, while Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) has also indicated she would not support some of the plan’s components.
Sinema met with Biden on Tuesday and informed the president that she did not want to negotiate on specific objections to the $3.5 trillion plan until the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passes the House. The senator has objections to tax increases to be used to fund the plan as well as the price tag itself, Politico reported on Tuesday.
“This is the third time she said she has told the president, ‘I’m not there,'” a person who spoke with Sinema told Politico. The person said Sinema added, “‘I’ve been very clear with you from the start.'”
Representative Ro Khanna (D., Calif.), a progressive, criticized Sinema in comments to NBC News.
“We have one senator from a state President Biden carried, from a state where her colleague is 100 percent on board, holding up the agenda of the entire House, of the national Democratic Party,” Khanna said. “So here’s my question. When is the Democratic Party going to tell a single senator: It’s time to get behind our president, it’s time to get in line?”