ABC and CBS are worried about the massive spending bill before Congress. Now, they aren’t worried on behalf of the American people about all the money being spent. They are upset on behalf of Democrats who might be botching their chances to pass it. CBS This Morning hosts on Thursday repeatedly badgered Bernie Sanders to make a deal while ABC’s Good Morning America fretted that the “clock is ticking” with a plan “on the verge of collapsing.”
Acting as an intermediary between her fellow Democrats, CBS co-host Gayle King previewed the Sanders interview: “We'll ask about the art of the possible to advance president Biden's agenda.” King gently pressed the socialist: “Would you consider a number less than $3.5 trillion? Have you talked to Joe Manchin?”
After an exasperated Sanders exclaimed that he couldn’t possibly lose the money towards climate change or universal kindergarten, King sympathized, “Listen, all of the causes you stated are very worthy. We all get it. You don't want to cut any of them. It gets to the point that you have to get things done.... what have you said to Joe Manchin? Have you been talking to him?”
Co-host Tony Dokoupil lamented, “Senator, if you're here saying you're not willing to take less than $3.5 trillion, it sounds like — it sounds like this is not going to happen.”
Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, a seemingly dejected Cecilia Vega fretted, “The clock is ticking and at this point Democrats appear no closer to reaching a deal.” As though she were in a counseling session, the journalist complained, “At this point, Democrats remain at a standstill. You know this. This is the issue right now.”
Sounding more like a Democratic PR representative telling her fellow party members to come together, Vega concluded, “This is a key piece of President Biden's legislative agenda. His entire administration really and if his own party doesn't come together on this, it's on the verge of collapsing.”
Transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
Good Morning America
7:08:16 to 7:09:47
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to go the White House now where President Biden is engaged in intensive negotiations with congressional Democrats trying to unify the party and salvage the infrastructure and social policy investments that are at the core of his agenda. Chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega tracking it all. Good morning.
CECILIA VEGA: Hey, George. Good morning. The clock is ticking and at this point Democrats appear no closer to reaching a deal. This was a long day here at the White House. The President spending more than four hours meeting with these various factions and all separate meetings, nearly two dozen Democrats and all liberals and moderates, party leaders also. When it was all said and done the white house called them productive and candid. Speaker Pelosi, she's saying everybody is good. The work is almost done, but another Democrat offering this reality check saying, quote, “We've got a hectic few day as head” and that is the reality.
At this point, Democrats remain at a standstill. You know this. This is the issue right now. It’s that trillion dollar infrastructure plan to improve roads and highways. That's their traditional infrastructure. Then there’s that $3.5 trillion plan to cover social programing, social programs like child care, fighting climate change. It's the moderates, they're balking at that. The progressives say it’s all or nothing. They want to cover these social programs while they've got control of Congress and the White House, there is a vote scheduled for Monday on that traditional infrastructure package. But, George, this is the bottom line this morning. This is a key piece of President Biden's legislative agenda. His entire administration really and if his own party doesn't come together on this it's on the verge of collapsing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Stakes could not be higher. Cecilia Vega, thanks very much.
CBS This Morning
8 AM tease
GAYLE KING: Coming up in this hour, an exclusive interview with senator Bernie Sanders. We'll ask about the art of the possible to advance president Biden's agenda.
TONY DOKOUPIL: We’re going to begin n Washington, president Biden is pushing fellow Democrats to unite amid disagreements in his own party over domestic policy goals. Mr. Biden met with House and Senate Democrats yesterday to work on two very big pieces of legislation. A $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a larger, about $3.5 trillion, social infrastructure bill, it's been called. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema say the $3.5 billion cost of the second bill is to high. Now the bill cannot pass without their support. Senate Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders joins us from capitol hill for an exclusive interview. He was one of the lawmakers who met with the President yesterday. Senator, good morning to you. Your party's in a difficult spot right here. You've got as much as $4.5 trillion all told that could go to the American people, everything from roads and bridges to childcare and health care. And it's all held up. How did that meeting go with the President yesterday?
DOKOUPIL: You're also running into opposition within your own party. You've got at least two senators who say they will not vote for $3.5 trillion. Meanwhile in the House, you've got progressives saying if that doesn't pass, they won't vote for the infrastructure bill. And everything is in a standstill. Would you take —
KING: Would you consider a number less than $3.5 trillion? Have you talked to Joe Manchin?
KING: Listen, all of the causes you stated are very worthy. We all get it. You don't want to cut any of them. It gets to the point that you have to get things done. So what are you willing to do -- what have you said to Joe Manchin? Have you been talking to him?
DOKOUPIL: Senator, if you're here saying you're not willing to take less than $3.5 trillion, it sounds like — it sounds like this is not going to happen.