Saturday, October 16, 2021

Panel OKs Dems’ $3.5 Trillion Bill, Crisis Time for Biden Agenda

WASHINGTON — Democrats pushed through the House budget committee on Saturday a $3.5 trillion, 10-year bill that strengthens social safety nets and climate programs, but a Democrat voted “no,” implying that party leaders Almost unanimously describes the challenges they will face in winning. To push the huge package through Congress.

The Democratic-dominated panel, meeting virtually, approved the measure on a party-line vote, 20-17. The passage marked a necessary but minor check of a procedural box for Democrats, moving it one step closer to debate by the full House. Under budget rules, the committee was not allowed to make significant amendments to the 2,465-page measure, the product of 13 other House committees.

More important work is happening in an opaque procession of mostly unannounced phone calls, meetings and other bargaining sessions between party leaders and rank-and-file MPs. President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., have led a behind-the-scenes search for a compromise to resolve internal divisions and, they hope. Let’s approve Mammoth Bill soon.

Pelosi told fellow Democrats on Saturday he would have to pass a social and environmental package this week, along with a separate infrastructure bill and a third measure on Friday to stem the government shutdown. His letter to colleagues outlined the plethora of important tasks the Democratic majority of Congress would do in the coming days and attempted to seek urgency to quickly resolve long-standing disputes.

“The next few days will be a time of intensity,” she wrote.

Moderate rape. Scott Peters, D-Calif., joined all 16 Republicans on the budget committee in opposing the legislation. His objections included an objection that troubled many Democrats: a reluctance to back a bill with provisions that would later be removed by the Senate.

Many Democrats do not want to become politically weak by supporting language that may be controversial in the house, only to see it not become law. The preference to vote only on a social and environmental bill, which is already a House-Senate agreement, could complicate Pelosi’s effort for a House vote this week.

Peters was among three Democrats who voted earlier this month against a plan most backed in his party to lower drug costs by negotiating drugs to be bought by Medicare.

Party leaders tried for weeks to resolve differences between Democrats over the final price tag of the package, which is sure to shrink. There are also controversies over which initiatives should be reshaped, including the expansion of Medicare, tax breaks and health care for children, a push toward clean energy, and higher fees on the wealthy and corporations.

Democrats’ wafer-thin majority in the House and Senate means a compromise is inevitable. It is expected to change to reflect whatever House-Senate agreement has been reached, and additional amendments are likely, before the measure reaches the House floor of the approved budget panel on Saturday.

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The overall bill marks the crux of Biden’s top domestic goals. Budget panel chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky. The U.S. cited “decades of disinvestment” on needs such as health care, education, child care and the environment as justification for the law.

“The future of millions of Americans and their families is at stake. We can no longer afford the cost of neglect and inaction. The time to act is now,” Yermuth said.

Republicans say the proposal is unnecessary, unaffordable amid federal debt of more than $28 trillion and reflects the Democrats’ campaign to put government in people’s lives. Its tax increases will cost jobs and include credits for buying electric vehicles, often made by people with a comfortable income, he said.

“This bill is a disaster for working-class families,” said Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, the committee’s top Republican. “It’s a great gift to the rich, it’s a laundry list of agenda items pulled out of the Bernie Sanders Socialist Playbook.”

The unusual weekend session came as top Democrats ended efforts to end increasingly bitter disputes between the party’s centrist and progressive wing that threaten to undermine Biden’s agenda.

Biden acknowledged on Friday that talks between Democrats were “at an impasse,” though Pelosi and Schumer have been more positive in an apparent attempt to build momentum and quell differences. The measure’s collapse at the hands of his own party will be a wounded preview for the coming election year, with control of the House and Senate at stake.

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