House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says President Biden's Build Back Better Act will do "fewer things better," referring to calls from moderate Democratic senators for less government spending, and he predicted that it will pass the House by Oct. 31.
"On the Build Back Better agenda, we're committed to meeting the deadline of October 31," Hoyer said on Tuesday, referring to the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the filibuster-proof multi-trillion reconciliation bill. "We're working very hard to have both of those bills ready to be passed by the House of Representatives before that date.
"Obviously, that is the date on which the authorization for the highway program, the transportation programs, ends, and it is a date we want to meet. I continue to believe we ought to use the Build Back Better Act to do fewer things better."
The Democrat-led Congress has voted along party lines to pass a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation framework. The original proposal for the formal budget reconciliation bill contained universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, and new benefits under Medicare and Medicaid expansion. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have objected to spending $3.5 trillion at this time.
It is unclear which parts of the original proposal will be included in the final version of the bill. Hoyer, President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have declined to identify which items of the reconciliation proposal they would consider removing to lower its price tag.
"We ought to make sure, that which we include in the bill will have a real impact," Hoyer said. "My own view is we need to focus on children, we need to focus on families, we need to focus on folks who are struggling. And I think that's a lot of the discussion."
Last week, Pelosi alluded to the Democrats cutting back on the numbers of years each new program would be funded for in the final version of the bill as a way to lower its cost.
"We're still talking about a couple trillion dollars, but it's not, you know, it's much less," she said. "So, mostly we would be cutting back on years and something like that."