WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has called for $ 400 billion in government spending to care for the elderly and disabledbut so far the Democrats are trying to give him less than half that number, highlighting the tough choices lawmakers must make.

Democrats in Congress are scrambling to put together a $ 3.5 trillion spending and tax package, trying to match an extensive presidential and progressive wish list with moderates’ desire to lower the price bring to.

Not all Democrats are giving up the desire to get $ 400 billion in funding for elderly care.

The money to care for the elderly is becoming increasingly important, especially with the age of the baby boom generation. The Covid pandemic has made home care more attractive to many people after the virus hit nursing home facilities the hardest.

Senate negotiators work with the offices of Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, two Democrats who have raised concerns that the overall price is too high to win their support for elderly care funding, so the staff of the Democratic Senate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, in order to describe negotiations behind closed doors in detail.

The House of Representatives Energy and Trade Committee released the details of its portion of the bill, which includes $ 190 billion to expand Medicaid to help the elderly and the disabled stay in their homes, on Thursday. It’s far less than the $ 400 billion Biden wanted and still below the $ 250 billion Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., Requested.

The president’s proposal would expand income entitlements to allow more people to receive personal and short-term care in their homes rather than having to go to a nursing home. It would also ensure that home nursing receives a living wage.

There are already more people who are entitled to care than the means to provide it.

There are currently more than 800,000 people on Medicaid home care waiting lists, but states do not have sufficient resources to provide the services. The aim is to eliminate the waiting list and allow more people to be cared for at home.

Despite the reduced allotment, Manchin and Sinema have raised concerns about the program and the total price of the entire bill. A source close to Manchin said he wanted state benefits such as care for the elderly to be income-related.

“He’s trying to find out in which areas you cut yourself,” said a Democratic adviser about Manchin.

As the program is run through Medicaid, Democrats Manchin and Sinema assure that income qualifications will be taken into account. According to a 2018 analysis by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, proponents also argue that caring for a person at home costs about $ 26,000 a year, compared to more than $ 90,000 in a nursing home