Monday, December 6, 2021

Biden’s big bill on the verge of a House vote, but fighting drag

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the House appear on the verge of securing President Joe Biden’s now-$1.85 trillion-and-increasing domestic policy package, as well as a companion $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which would be a dramatic political achievement – if they Can push it to pass.

The House prepared for votes late Thursday, which are now likely to take place on Friday, and White House officials worked to lock down the phone in support of the president’s signature motion. House pass of the big bill would be a significant step in sending Senate Biden’s ambitious effort to expand health care, child care and other social services to countless Americans and deliver the nation’s biggest investment fighting climate change. .

With a thin roads-bridges-and-broadband package, it adds to Biden’s response to his campaign promise to rebuild the country from the COVID-19 crisis and confront a changing economy.

But they are not there yet.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was acting furiously on Thursday and kept the House late to shore up votes. The party has been here before, as before another politically messy day is being blamed for the dismal performance of Democrats in this week’s elections. On Capitol Hill and beyond, party leaders declared that it was time for Congress to fulfill Biden’s agenda.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” Pelosi insisted at an afternoon press briefing.

His strategy now focuses on passing the strongest bill in his chamber and then leaving the Senate to accommodate or isolate the parts whose members would not agree.

Half the size of Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion package, the now 2,135-page bill has won most progressive Democratic lawmakers, even though the bill is smaller than they wanted. But the chamber’s more centrist and economically conservative Democrats continued to object.

Overall the package remains more far-reaching than any other in decades. Republicans are vehemently opposed to Biden’s bill, called the “Build Back Better Act” after the president’s 2020 campaign slogan.

The larger package will provide assistance to a large number of Americans with access to health care, raising children and caring for the elderly at home.

There will be lower prescription drug costs, the price of insulin will be capped at $35 per dose, and Medicare will be able to negotiate with drug companies for the prices of certain other drugs for the first time, a long-sought Democratic Priority.

Medicare will have a new hearing aid benefit for older Americans, and those with Medicare Part D will see their out-of-pocket prescription drug cost at $2,000.

The package would provide a tax break of some $555 billion to encourage clean energy and electric vehicles, the nation’s biggest commitment to combat climate change.

With a flurry of adjustments of late, Democrats added key provisions in recent days — adding back changes to a new paid family leave program, work permits for immigrants, and state and local tax deductions.

Most of the cost of the package would be covered with higher taxes on wealthy Americans earning more than $400,000 a year, and an additional 5% tax added on those earning more than $10 million annually. Large corporations will face a new 15% minimum tax in an effort to prevent large businesses from claiming such a deduction that they end up paying zero in taxes.

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From the White House, “the president is very clear, he wants to take this forward,” said Carine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary.

As the night wore on, Democratic leaders struggled to resolve a list of remaining issues as lawmakers balance the promise of Biden’s broad vision with the realities of his home-district politics.

When the bill finally comes up for consideration in an equally divided 50-50 Senate, Biden has few votes left in the narrowly divided House.

A group of five centrist Democratic lawmakers want a full budgetary assessment before they vote. Others in more Republican-leaning areas are opposing a new state-and-local tax cut that favors New York, California and other high-tax states. Another group wants changes in immigration-related provisions.

In recent times, there has been an increase in both the overall price tag and the revenue to pay for it. Revenue from taxes on corporations and the wealthy and other changes is projected to bring in $2.1 trillion over 10 years, according to a summary obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday. This is higher than earlier estimates of $1.9 trillion.

Pelosi referred to a similar assessment Thursday by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, and she echoed Biden’s persistent remarks that the overall package would be paid for in full.

But another model from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania suggested a reduction in revenue to cover the cost, raising fresh doubts among some Democratic lawmakers.

Still, Democrats in the House are eager to end this week, eager to lay out the president’s agenda and, as some lawmakers prepare to depart for the global climate change summit in Scotland, show That America is taking the issue of the environment seriously.

Democrats are working to resolve their differences, specifically West Virginia’s Sens. Along with Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema, who forced Biden’s bill cuts but backed a slimmer infrastructure package, which stalled amid deliberations.

Munchkin has denounced the new family and medical leave program, which includes four for less than the 12-week program once envisioned, after childbirth, for those recovering from major illness or caring for family members. Expect to provide paid time off of the week.

Senators are also likely to end a recently added immigration provision, which would create a new program for some 7 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status, allowing them to work and travel in the US for five years. Allows to apply for a permit. It is not clear whether the Senate will pass the extras with the lawmaker under the special budget rules being used to process the package.

On another remaining issue, Democrats are still debating a plan to partially remove the $10,000 limit on state and local tax cuts that particularly affects high-tax states and Trump- ERA was enacted as part of the 2017 tax plan.

While repealing the so-called SALT deduction cap is a priority for many northeastern state lawmakers, progressives wanted to prevent the super-rich from benefiting. Under the plan, the $10,000 deduction cap would be increased to $72,500 for 10 years, beginning with the $10,000 tax year.


Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri, Kevin Freaking, Aamer Madhani and Marie Claire Jalonik contributed to this report.

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