The president spoke of the filibuster during a 90-minute event in which he also expressed confidence that Democrats were closer to a deal on his sprawling domestic policy package, which he said would surpass the Affordable Care Act in its scope and impact on American society.
To advance that package despite unanimous Republican opposition, Democrats are using a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation, which shields fiscal legislation from a filibuster. But Mr. Biden needs the support of all 50 Senate Democrats and nearly every House Democrat.
Where the Budget Bill Stands in Congress
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A framework has yet to emerge. No final decisions have been made on the plan — which is expected to include education, child care, paid leave, anti-poverty and climate change programs — and negotiations are continuing. But even with a scaled-back version, passage of the bill is no guarantee.
“We’re down to four or five issues, which I’m not going to negotiate on national television,” he said. Lawmakers and aides familiar with the discussion say talks are largely focused on up to $2 trillion in spending over 10 years.
But after weeks of talks largely shrouded in secrecy, the president laid out a detailed assessment of how he and congressional Democrats were trimming an initial $3.5 trillion blueprint, including negotiations with two centrist holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Mr. Biden acknowledged that expanding Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing — long championed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee — was “a reach” because of Mr. Manchin and, he believed, Ms. Sinema. Instead, the president said they were looking to provide an $800 voucher for dental work. Ms. Sinema appeared open to the hearing benefit, he added, and negotiations were continuing over vision.
“Look, in the United States Senate, when you have 50 Democrats, everyone is the president,” Mr. Biden said.
He publicly conceded that his plans to increase the corporate tax rate could be jettisoned from the bill because of Ms. Sinema’s opposition.