President Joe Biden has arrived in Europe ahead of next week’s key UN climate summit, with his signature climate policy yet to pass through the US Congress.
The president’s $1.75 trillion (£1.2tn) Build Back Better social welfare package includes more than $500bn of spending on green policies.
Before leaving Washington, Mr Biden described the measures as historic.
But differences among Democrats mean it is unlikely to pass before the summit.
“It’s a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity,” Mr Biden said in a TV address from the White House.
The president heads for the COP26 global climate summit in Scotland on Sunday, but his first stop was the Vatican where he met the Pope after arriving in the early hours of Friday.
Image caption,Pope Francis met US President Joe Biden at the Vatican City
Biden’s bill: close, but not yet over the line
By Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Rome
Joe Biden delayed his departure for Europe in hopes of pulling a legislative rabbit out of his hat. What he got was a “framework” and a promise of votes to come.
When he arrived in Rome in the middle of the night, it was becoming increasingly clear that the president wouldn’t have anything concrete to present to his fellow world leaders – particularly on climate action.
COP26 climate summit – The basics
- Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing problems. Governments must promise more ambitious cuts in warming gases if we are to prevent greater global temperature rises.
- The summit in Glasgow is where change could happen. You need to watch for the promises made by the world’s biggest polluters, like the US and China, and whether poorer countries are getting the support they need.
- All our lives will change. Decisions made here could impact our jobs, how we heat our homes, what we eat and how we travel.
The original price tag for the proposal was $3.5tn, but it has been cut in half at the insistence of two centrist Democratic senators who could doom the bill in the Senate.
The objections by Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have infuriated the left of the party.
On Thursday Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema issued lukewarm statements that still declined to back the president’s stripped-down bill.
The House will not vote on the infrastructure bill until next week at the earliest. Mr Biden is due back in Washington on Wednesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden can still try legislative arm-twisting by phone from Rome.
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