Pelosi gripes media not helping ‘sell’ $3.5T bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday complained that the media is not doing a good job of “selling” President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation — the same bill she has been unable to sell to her own party.

“Well I think you all could do a better job of selling it, to be very frank with you,” the California Democrat said during a weekly press briefing, after being asked how Democrats can do a better job on messaging.

A recent poll showed only 10 percent of Americans said they knew a lot of specifics on what is included in the bill.

“Because every time I come here, I go through the list, family medical leave, climate, the issues that are in there,” Pelsoi continued.

“It is hard to break through when you have such a comprehensive package. But as we narrow it down and put it out there I think that — for example, one of the things in the bill is the continuation of the Biden tax credit, the child tax credit that is within the rescue package. That has great appeal. Do people know where it springs from? No, but it is a vast bill.

“It has a lot in it and we will have to continue to make sure the public does. But whether they know what or not, they overwhelming support it. And by the way, women much more than men.”

Hours after the press conference, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) slammed the Democratic messaging, saying, “They can’t do anything right.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complains that the media does not thoroughly explain President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill to Americans.
L Nolly/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

“I just heard the clip from Nancy Pelsoi, they’re so screwed up, they’re blaming their best friends — the mainstream press — so that’s how bad the situation is,” Jordan told Fox News.

“They’re gonna kick it down, kick the can down the road again for about eight weeks, and then we’ll be back on this again,” said Jordan

“So this is just — this is just emblematic of what the Democrats have been like in the Biden administration, they can’t do anything right.” 

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has repeatedly said the American people support what is in the budget reconciliation. However, the exact details on what is included have not been made public as negotiations over the bill’s price tag continue.

The Democratic Party has been internally warring between progressives and moderates over the price of the bill. Progressives like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), backed by Pelosi and Biden, support the current $3.5 trillion top line, while moderate Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) have vowed not to support it in the upper chamber.

Two weeks ago, Manchin revealed his topline number of $1.5 trillion. Sinema has not publicly revealed how high she is willing to go.

On Tuesday, Pelsoi conceded that the bill will not stay at the $3.5 trillion price tag, calling the original bill “transformative.”

“We had some important decisions to make in the next few days so that we can proceed,” she said. “I’m very disappointed that we’re not going with the original $3.5 trillion, which was very transformative, but in whatever we do, we’ll make decisions that will continue to be transformative about women in the workplace.”

Parents protest for child tax credit payments to be permanent outside Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office in Phoenix, Arizona on September 15, 2021.
Parents protest for child tax credit payments to be permanent outside Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office in Phoenix, Arizona on September 15, 2021.
Jason Wise/Getty Images for ParentsTogether

Pelosi was also pressed on what item in the bill would be the first to go in order to get the price down and closer to an agreement.

“You must be kidding,” Pelosi said. “That’s a negotiation, that’s not something that I would be announcing here and I don’t even know what that would be.”

Right after, the speaker did say in order to bring costs down, they would probably reduce “timing.”

“But it only would be in such a way that does not undermine the transformative nature of it, because some of it has to have enough money in order — to be — have sustainability that is — can be counted on.”

One measure included in the Build Back Better agenda has been highly criticized in recent weeks. The proposal would require banks to report data to the Internal Revenue Service on transactions over $600, affecting nearly every American.

Under the proposal, banks would be required to turn over aggregate inflow and outflow numbers annually to the IRS and would cover bank accounts with at least $600 or at least $600 worth of transactions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Critics have slammed the proposal, calling the $600 threshold a broad invasion of privacy.

Given the criticism, Pelosi was pressed on whether the proposal would stay in the budget reconciliation.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims women “overwhelming support” President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“Yes there are concerns that some people have, but if people are breaking the law and not paying their taxes, one way to track them is through the bank measure,” she said. “I think 600 — that’s a negotiation that will go on, as to what the amount is, but yes.”

Over the weekend, Biden pleaded with his party to unite in negotiations to pass the bill.

“My message is simple: we need to stay together, and bound by the values that we hold as a party,” the president said in a three-minute pre-recorded address released Saturday at the Democratic National Committee’s fall meeting.

“Because here’s the deal: we won 2020 as a unified party,” Biden said. “And we look to 2022, as we do that, we need to stay unified.”