Democrats Raise $3.5 Trillion to Fulfill Biden’s Broad Budget


WASHINGTON — President Biden and Congressional Democrats pledged to push for a deal Wednesday. $3.5 trillion budget plan massively expand social and environmental programs by expanding education and health care, taxing the wealthy, and tackling the warming of the planet.

The legislation is far from transition, but top Democrats have decided to work to include a few far-reaching details. It includes universal kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds, free two-year community college, clean energy requirements for utilities, and lower prescription drug prices. Medicare benefits will be expanded and green cards will be issued to some undocumented immigrants.

At a closed lunch at the Capitol, Mr. Biden brought together Democrats and their aligning independents to adopt the plan, which required each of their votes to advance over the united Republican opposition. But some moderate lawmakers, crucial to the plan’s success, have yet to say whether they will accept the proposal.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said Mr. Biden’s message was “be united, strong, big and brave”.

Senate Democratic leaders have said they aim to pass both the budget plan and a narrower, bipartisan infrastructure plan still being written before the August holiday. This will be a difficult task politically in an equally divided Senate. The narrowly divided House would have to pass the plan before both chambers dealt with the details.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraced the deal. “This budget deal is a victory for the American people and makes historic once-in-a-generation progress for families across the country,” he said in a letter to Democrats on Wednesday.

Draft covers most Mr. Biden’s 4 trillion dollar economic agenda. Caters to every major category American Families Planincluding investments in childcare, paid leave and education, and extended tax credits will begin providing monthly checks to most families with children this week.

“I think we’re going to achieve a lot,” Mr Biden told reporters as he left the first face-to-face lunch meeting with the Democratic group as president.

Nodding to the budget restrictions, party leaders acknowledged that many programs, including tax credits, could be temporary, leaving it up to a future Congress to decide whether to extend them.

The proposal includes some measures that go beyond what Mr. Biden envisioned, such as expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits. Democratic leaders also left it up to the Senate Finance Committee to decide whether to include a measure that would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. That’s a priority of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, chairman of the Budget Committee.

The plan will also effectively create what will happen. import tax from countries with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This could violate Mr. Biden’s rules. Commitment not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year, if taxes are imposed on products such as electronics from China.

The Democrats on Mr. Sanders’ committee should prepare a budget resolution in the coming days that includes so-called reconciliation instructions to other Senate committees. They will draft a bill detailing how $3.5 trillion will be spent and how it will be spent. taxes will be raised for pay for it.

This is a Democrat consensus This fall, a bill that will be shielded from a swindler will allow them to circumvent the Republican opposition but require the passage of all 50 members – and the majority in the narrowly divided House.

“In some cases, it doesn’t provide all the funding I want to do right now,” Mr Sanders said. But given the fact that we have 50 members and compromises have to be made, I think this is a very, very important step forward.”

“At the end of the day, if you ask me, do I think we’ll get past this? I do.”

At the Democrats’ luncheon, majority leader New York Senator Chuck Schumer outlined the proposal and the directives it would issue.

Democrats included the creation of a civic climate union to add jobs to climate change and protection. They’ve also pushed to provide investments in childcare, home care and housing, and are expected to try and fix problems to include a path to naturalization for some undocumented immigrants. workers’ rights.

The plan will also expand expanded subsidies for Americans purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which is included in the broad pandemic relief bill Mr.

To move the U.S. economy from oil, gas and coal to wind, solar and other renewable sources, major investments would go into renewable energy and a converted electricity system. The budget plan will include a clean energy standard that will mandate the generation of electricity driven by renewable sources and support tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars and trucks.

To fully fund the bill, higher taxes on overseas corporate operations, higher capital gains rates for the wealthy, higher taxes on large inheritances, and stronger tax laws are expected to be imposed to mitigate incentives to send profits abroad.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Finance Committee, said he is preparing to overhaul a cut for companies that are not as corporately organized as many small businesses and law firms. Such a change would reduce taxes on small businesses but generate additional income from wealthy business owners.

Special provisions will need to be combined with strict budgetary rules that govern the reconciliation process and require that the provisions not only introduce new policies but affect spending and taxation. The Senate parliamentarian can force the Democrats to overhaul or throw them out altogether. clean energy standard, the provision most desired by climate activists and many scientists, and immigration and labor provisions, among others.

Resisting progressive pressure to spend as much as $6 trillion on Mr. Biden’s entire economic agenda, Moderate Democrats have largely refused to weigh in on the plan until they see detailed legislation, saying they should consider more than an overall spending count. .

“For me, we need to get more meat to the bones,” Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester told reporters, but added that he would ultimately vote on the budget plan. “I need to get more information about what’s inside.”

The size of the package may depend on the success or failure of the bipartisan infrastructure plan, which will spend approximately $600 billion on roads, bridges, tunnels, public transport and broadband. The group of lawmakers negotiating this package has yet to disclose details as they negotiate how they will pay for the structure and plan.

If Republicans can’t get enough votes to push the package beyond a stalemate, Democrats can fold physical infrastructure spending into their compromise plans, eliminating any chance for Republicans to shape it, said Senator Rob Portman, a bipartisan bill. negotiators.

Expressing his colleagues’ doubts at a private Republican lunch on Tuesday, Mr Portman said, “If we don’t get past the infrastructure, they’re going to put in more infrastructure and worse policies than we do.”

Some Republicans had hoped that a bilateral agreement on physical infrastructure projects would gain momentum from a trillions-dollar reconciliation package. Instead, it looks very well done and could intensify the pressure on Republicans to reach agreement on a bipartisan package, even if they vehemently oppose the rest of the Democrats’ agenda.

“I want to be able to say to people in South Carolina: I’m here for this, not for this,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Budget Committee and an environmental asset in bipartisan talks. .

He added that the long ground discussion over the plan would allow Republicans to “violently attack it, make changes that delineate the divisions, shout to heaven that this is not infrastructure.”

Senator Joe Manchin III from West Virginia, a centrist Democrat whose support may be decisive, told reporters he has concerns about some of the climate language. But he did not exclude his support. Another notable moderate, Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Cinema, was also delayed Wednesday.

Yet the $3.5 trillion package contained much to appeal to veteran Democrats who have long been willing to use it to further their priorities.

For Senator Patty Murray of Washington, chair of the Health, Education, Work and Pensions Committee, this was an extension of a more generous child tax credit, as well as subsidies for childcare, kindergarten, and paid family leave.

For Mr. Sanders, it was Medicare and climate provisions. “Eventually, we will put America in a position to lead the world in the fight against climate change,” he said.

Mr. Tester said the need for school construction was so high that trillions could go into it alone.

“The plan is a strong first step,” said Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, adding that it’s focused on funding universal childcare. “We are splitting the money now to find the right ways to make it happen.”

The budget measure is expected to include language that forbids tax increases on small businesses, farms and people earning less than $400,000, fulfilling a promise Mr Biden made throughout the negotiations. When asked on Wednesday whether the proposed carbon tariff would violate that commitment, Mr Wyden replied, “We haven’t heard that argument.”

Lisa Friedman and Nicholas Fandos contributing reporting.


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