WASHINGTON — When he won the Oval Office last year, President Joe Biden promised to govern by consensus and unite the country. Since then, the country has watched him fail to bring together the disparate wings of his own party around ambitious tax and spending plans that would force the wealthy to shoulder more of the burden for social programs. And that was after abandoning any hope of getting a bipartisan agreement that would demonstrate Washington's ability to come together. The shift from consensus to partisanship means that when Biden and his aides now mention compromise, they aren’t referring to bipartisanship. They’re talking only about the factions of their own party. “We’ve spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this,” Biden said of the "framework" for a $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” deal Thursday. “No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus. And that’s what I ran on.” That was clear Thursday, when Biden visited the Capitol for the second time in a month to implore House Democrats to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better budget measure. The latter would raise money from the wealthy to pump money into long-standing liberal priorities, including green-energy incentives, universal early education, public housing and subsidies for elder and child care. But Biden can't get the bills to his own desk. To succeed, he needs the warring factions of his own party — chiefly House progressives and two Senate centrists — to set aside their distrust and their remaining differences to enact what most Democrats still see as genuinely historic investments in climate and social policy. The infighting isn't helping Democrats politically — it undercuts Biden's narrative and gives fodder to the party's critics — and it threatens to leave a bittersweet taste even if the bills become law. Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had hoped the big announcement of an outline and the president's personal lobbying on Capitol Hill would persuade liberals to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which House progressives have held hostage in order to try to gain leverage on the social spending measure. It should not be hard for a Democratic president, a Democratic House speaker and a Democratic Senate majority leader to pass an expansion of the social safety net by taxing the rich. The Build Back Better plan is bread-and-butter party orthodoxy, and what lawmakers do seem to agree on is spending about $3 trillion over the next decade among infrastructure, climate and social programs. Biden didn't help by dragging his feet on negotiating — Democratic allies begged him to engage more aggressively for months — or by refusing to identify his own priorities when it became clear that creating a framework required a major triage operation. "The longer it takes, the messier it looks," Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary under President Barack Obama, told NBC's Craig Melvin. But there's no question that Biden's diplomacy between the factions has moved the discussion forward significantly in the last couple of weeks. Progressives were always going to have to give up a lot to get some of their priorities, and the framework is about a quarter of the size they sought at one point. It has been stripped of many of the provisions they saw as high priorities. On the Senate side, moderates came to the table and negotiated in enough detail to allow the framework to start taking shape as actual legislation. The Build Back Better plan is now half the size of Biden's original $3.5 trillion proposal, the result of sl . . . read the full article here.