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Democrat Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal reportedly “broke into tears” at a meeting in the Oval Office as she argued for an amnesty package for illegal aliens.
She was apparently begging Joe Biden to include a pathway to citizenship in his $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which already has a tough row to hoe, Politico reported.
Playbook has learned that during an intense meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Rep. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-Wash.) broke into tears while arguing her case to President JOE BIDEN that the reconciliation bill should include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, essential workers and farm workers.
During the Oval Office meeting, several prominent Hill progressives argued forcefully for a robust reconciliation package. Jayapal, who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, advocated for the inclusion of major immigration provisions, and toward that end, used her own story as a selling point.
“She said, ‘I’m the first South Asian woman ever elected to the House … and one of only two dozen immigrants in Congress … as an immigrant woman of color, I just want to share my perspective,” her spokesperson, Chris Evans, said. “She has a unique story as an immigrant — but also coming at 16, and to be sitting at the White House delivering what would be a transformational investment in social programs, it will be a moment she will remember forever.”
Some in the room suggested that the tears were a sign that Rep. Jaypal was overwhelmed by the situation and “feeling the pressure,” but her spokesperson had an explanation for it.
“It’s hard to get overwhelmed in a non-confrontational meeting. I could see someone getting overwhelmed if they were demanded to do something, but that didn’t happen,” he said.
On the same day as the meeting the congresswoman tweeted her support for a pathway to citizenship.
“As someone who came to this country alone when I was 16, I know how critical it is that we restore America as a beacon of hope. It’s time to guarantee a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, and essential workers as part of the Build Back Better plan,” she said.
As someone who came to this country alone when I was 16, I know how critical it is that we restore America as a beacon of hope.
It’s time to guarantee a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, and essential workers as part of the Build Back Better plan.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 24, 2021
But Biden is having a tough time passing the bill as it is, even facing roadblocks from some fellow Democrats.
Biden met with Sen. Joe Manchin in the Oval Office last week and the senator rebuffed Biden’s pressure campaign, Axios reported.
Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.
Axios was told Biden explained to Manchin his opposition could imperil the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that’s already passed the Senate. Biden’s analysis did little to persuade Manchin to raise his top line.
Manchin held his position and appears willing to let the bipartisan bill hang in the balance, given his entrenched opposition to many of the specific proposals in the $3.5 trillion spending package, Axios was told.
While the two left the meeting having made little progress, and are still some $2 trillion apart, the conversation was friendly and they agreed to keep talking.
Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates would not get into specifics on the meeting but called Manchin an “important partner.”
“Sen. Manchin is an important partner,” he said. “We do not discuss the contents of private meetings.”
Biden and the Democrats face a tough road as progressives in their party have threatened to stop a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal from being passed unless they get the massive reconciliation bill passed.
And moderates like Sens. Manchin and Krysten Sinema appear to be immovable on the size of the reconciliation bill.