Issued on: Modified:
President Joe Biden traveled to Capitol Hill early Thursday to present the case to House Democrats in favor of a dramatically reduced domestic policy package, $ 1.75 trillion in social services and climate change programs that the House Blanca believes they can be approved in the Senate 50-50.
Biden is eager to have a deal in hand before departing later in the day for world summits, but the revised new package is losing some of the Democrats’ top priorities as the president’s campaign ambitions give way to the political realities of the tightly divided Congress.
A paid family leave and efforts to cut prescription drug prices have now completely gone out of the package, according to senior administration officials who requested anonymity to brief reporters on the emerging details.
Still in the mix: free pre-kindergarten for all youth, expanded health care programs, including the launch of a new $ 35 billion hearing aid benefit for seniors with Medicare, and $ 555 billion to address climate change.
There is also a one-year extension of a child care tax credit that was implemented during the COVID-19 rescue, new child care subsidies, and $ 100 billion to bolster legal immigration and the border processing system. .
When asked on Capitol Hill if he has enough support from his party for approval, Biden told reporters, “Yes.”
Taking shape after months of lengthy negotiations, the White House called the overall package the biggest investment in climate change and the biggest improvement to the nation’s healthcare system in more than a decade.
Biden’s proposal would be paid for by imposing a new additional tax of 5% on income above $ 10 million a year and instituting a new minimum corporate tax of 15%, maintaining his plans to have no new taxes for those who win. less than $ 400,000 a year, authorities said. .
Revenue to help pay for the package would also come from rolling back some of the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts, along with increased enforcement of tax evaders by the IRS. Biden has promised to cover the full cost of the plan, making sure it doesn’t pile up on the debt burden.
Manchin and Sinema exchange the vows
Biden will make comments from the White House on the package and a related $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, before leaving for world summits Thursday afternoon.
But the framework is not yet the full legislative text, and lawmakers cautioned that it has not yet been agreed upon by lawmakers. Advocates urging Democrats to support climate change efforts protested in front of the Capitol.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, leader of the progressive caucus, said that unveiling the new framework “will show tremendous momentum. But we want to see the actual text because we don’t want confusion or misunderstandings. “
Democrats’ bickering over the big national policy bill has delayed passage of a separate $ 1 trillion package of highway, broadband and other infrastructure projects that faces a Sunday deadline for a vote. . But Biden will make the effort to send them both over the “finish line.”
In the divided Senate, Biden needs the support of all Democrats with no votes to spare. The House is similarly divided with only a few votes in the margin.
Despite a series of deadlines, Democrats have been unable to close the deal with each other and Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the package. At best, Democrats could come up with a framework that could send Biden overseas with a deal in hand and unlock the process while final details are worked out.
Pressing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a committee hearing Thursday to push Biden’s package toward a full House vote, though the timing remains uncertain.
Two key Democratic opponents, Sens Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have almost single-handedly reduced the size and scope of their party’s grand vision.
White House officials have been meeting repeatedly with Manchin and Sinema, two senators who now have enormous power, essentially deciding whether or not Biden will be able to deliver on the Democrats’ top campaign promises.
A deadline was looming Sunday to pass the smaller public works bill or risk allowing funding for routine transportation programs to expire.