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Biden taking social services, climate pitch to Pennsylvania

October 18, 2021 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden will travel to Scranton on Wednesday, the White House said, as the Democrat works to rally support in Congress for a social services and climate change package that had been a 10-year, $3.5 trillion proposal.

Biden’s visit to his birthplace in the key swing state of Pennsylvania comes just a week after first lady Jill Biden visited nearby Allentown.

Biden said Friday he would prefer to cut the duration of programs in the package rather than eliminate some entirely, as Democrats aim to win support from moderate lawmakers by trimming the cost.

The fate of the legislation, branded “Build Back Better” by Biden, is also holding up a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate this summer.

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House progressives are balking at supporting that roads-and-bridges bill until agreement is reached on a path forward for the social services and climate change package.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to reduce its cost to about $2 trillion in spending over 10 years, to be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

The proposal includes everything from free child care and community college to dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors and a number of provisions meant to combat climate change.