U.S. President Joe Biden was dealt a setback on Thursday as the House of Representatives abandoned plans for a vote on an infrastructure bill with progressives seeking more time to consider his call for a separate $1.75 trillion plan for climate measures, preschool and other social initiatives.
Biden had sought to unite his party behind the climate and social spending plan with personal appeals on Thursday, and had pressed for a Thursday vote on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, another main plank of his agenda.
He hoped a framework on the larger measure would convince progressive House Democrats to support the infrastructure bill, but their insistence that the two move together led House leaders to abandon a planned vote, leaving Biden empty handed.
"We have a historic economic framework" that will create jobs and make the United States more competitive, Biden said after a last-minute trip to Congress to enlist progressives' support. He then departed for a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries and global climate talks.
He left behind a U.S. Congress bubbling with conflicts and unanswered questions, but one that seemed to be inching towards votes on his economic agenda, perhaps within days.