Budget Talks

Congressional Reps. Vargas, Jacobs and Peters Talk Budget Negotiations

On Friday, Democrats missed another self-imposed deadline to agree to a framework for the Build Back Better plan

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The Build Back Better plan is a social spending plan that includes things like climate-action items and a child tax credit, but now, with negotiations intensifying in Washington, the initial $3.5 trillion price tag is scaling back to $2 trillion, and that means some things have to get cut.

On Friday, Democrats missed another self-imposed deadline to agree to a framework for the plan. U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, a Democrat from the 51st District, told NBC 7 that he wants his colleagues to stop creating unrealistic deadlines.

The deal has passed in the Senate, but some are saying a progressive rebellion is holding up passage, reports NBC 7's Priya Sridhar.

"I’m not drawing a line in the sand saying, 'Unless we have this, I won't vote for it,' " Vargas said. "That’s as dumb as those artificial timelines that we’ve put out there and blow through them, and say, 'Oh, my god, you know we didn’t make the timeline.' Well, of course, because you set up an unreasonable unlikely timeline. Don’t do that."

Last month, progressive Democrats said they wouldn't vote on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement until things were finalized with the Build Back Better Act. U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs, a Democrat from the 53rd District, is a member of the progressive caucus and said she's happy that the child tax credit will likely be expanded.

"I honestly think the discussion over the top-line number is obscuring a little bit of what the real conversation is and what we’re really talking about, so I am feeling very good that we are going to get something big and transformative done on child care," Jacobs said. "I’m pushing really hard for that."

U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat from the 52nd District, said he stands by his belief that the Build Back Better Act and theBbipartisan Infrastructure Agreement should not be voted on together. He thinks progress is being made, but there is still a ways to go.

"I think one thing I caution my colleagues against, and, hopefully, they do it, is try to open up every single program and only fund it a little bit," Peters said. "I think we should do a few things well."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there will likely be a vote on one of the plans, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement or the Build Back Better Act, by next week and that Democrats have agreed to 90% of what they want to put in the bill.

Right now, the two moderate Democrats in the Senate who are needed to agree on the plan are Sen.Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

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