Biden on high-stakes week ahead: ‘I’m a born optimist’

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President Biden didn’t flinch as he received a COVID-19 booster shot Monday, but the week ahead is far scarier for his party and his presidential legacy, as Washington faces the prospect of a government shutdown, default on its debts and pivotal votes on infrastructure and social welfare spending at the center of the Democrats’ agenda.

Mr. Biden said he isn’t sweating it.

“You know me. I’m a born optimist, I think things are going to go well, I think we’re going to get it done,” Mr. Biden told reporters after getting a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. “I have meetings tonight, tomorrow and for the next little bit.”

Republicans have signaled they won’t help Democrats raise the debt limit as Mr. Biden’s party, which enjoys narrow majorities on Capitol Hill, cues up trillions in new spending under a “budget reconciliation” bill that can pass without GOP votes.

At the same time, Democrats are sparring with each other over that spending. Moderates saying the $3.5 trillion price tag of the reconciliation bill is too high, while progressives say they don’t want to curtail it and might withhold votes from a parallel, bipartisan bill on physical infrastructure to get their way.

The president didn’t say how he planned to pull it all off, but argued a victory for his team is in the country’s best interests.

“We’ve got three things to do — the debt ceiling, continuing resolution [for government funding] and the two pieces of legislation,” he said. “We do that, the country is going to be in great shape.”

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