Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Biden’s big bill on the verge of a House vote, but the fight remains

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats in the House are on the verge of pushing President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion and growing domestic policy package What a dramatic political achievement with a partner in a $1 trillion infrastructure bill – if they can push it to pass.

The House scrapped the vote late Thursday but will return early Friday, and White House officials worked to lock down the phone in support of the president’s signature motion. After months of negotiations, the passage of the big bill in the House would be a significant step that would send the Senate Biden’s ambitious effort to expand health care, providing child care and other social services for countless Americans and the nation’s largest investment in 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 worked fiercely at the Capitol on Thursday night and kept the House up late to bolster 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.

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“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. The House Rules Committee processed the final amendments, including state and local tax cuts, in a brief meeting late Thursday in preparation for floor votes.

Half the size of Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion package, the now 2,135-page bill has won most progressive Democratic lawmakers, even if it is smaller than they would have liked. 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.

Will cost less prescription drug, limiting the price of insulin to $35 per dose, and Medicare would for the first time be able to negotiate with drug companies for the prices of certain other drugs, which had long been a 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 some $555 billion in tax breaks encouraging clean energy and electric vehicles, the nation’s biggest commitment to combat climate change.

with a flurry of late adjustmentsDemocrats added key provisions in recent days – adding back a new paid family leave program and work permits for immigrants. Late Thursday the change will raise the $80,000 limit on state and local tax deductions to $80,000.

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 a few votes left in the narrowly divided House and none.

Five centrist Democratic lawmakers want a full budgetary evaluation 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 revised plan, the $10,000 deduction limit will be increased to $80,000 for nine years, beginning in the 2021 tax year.

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

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