WASHINGTON: US Democratic Representative from Florida Kathy Castor (C) speaks at a press conference on the infrastructure bill and climate change at the US Capitol in Washington. – AFP

WASHINGTON: A dispute within the Democratic party has stalled US President Joe Biden’s massive spending plans for the United States as Congress postponed a key vote on the measures Monday. The delay is a setback for the Democratic president, who intends to make American history with the two titanic funding projects-on infrastructure and social spending-worth a total of nearly $5 trillion.

Despite hours of negotiations, no agreement had been reached by midnight and Democratic leaders decided to resume the session today at midday. If agreement is reached, the vote may be held today afternoon. Earlier this month, the Senate approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment plan, with some Republicans crossing the aisle to support the measure. But a squabble has arisen in the House over whether to pass that bill first, or a separate $3.5 trillion plan supported only by Democrats that would allocate money towards education, health care, the labor market and fighting climate change.

Biden’s Democratic allies controlling the House and Senate have for months been considering the two measures aimed at overhauling the world’s largest economy through massive injections of cash into an array of programs. The dispute erupted when moderate Democrats in the House demanded the popular infrastructure measure be approved without delay.

But progressive lawmakers insist the larger bill should take priority, fearing the centrists, objecting to its cost, will refuse to provide their crucial votes in a chamber with a tight Democratic majority once the infrastructure bill is passed. Biden, who is facing blowback over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, is expected to weigh in on the dispute behind the scenes. – AFP