Democrats are working to see how flexible the White House framework is for the social spending package.
Lawmakers hope to make adjustments to the framework released Thursday in areas including healthcare, weather and paid family leave.
But it could be a challenge given the positions of the moderate Sens. Joe manchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment – Presented by American Clean Power – Big Oil Day in Congress on Money – Progressives sign as Biden races to settle Hillicon Valley – Facebook launches rebranding campaign MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten Sinema Legislators Discuss Potential Commitment to Revive Drug Price Measure Healthcare Overnight – Presented by Altria – Drug prices outside of Biden’s framework, at least for now Progressives win again: No vote infrastructure tonight MORE (D-Ariz.), As well as the Biden administration’s desire to quickly enact both the Democratic-only spending package and a Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“Nobody got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s the compromise,” Biden said Thursday in a speech at the White House on the framework.
The framework released Thursday still includes elements such as universal preschool and clean energy incentives. But it cuts and eliminates some of the fiscal and spending priorities of Biden and Democratic lawmakers, reducing the size of the package to $ 1.75 trillion, plus an additional $ 100 billion for immigration reforms that meet Senate budget rules. .
The changes are designed to address the concerns of Manchin and Sinema, who opposed the $ 3.5 trillion sales figure that Democrats had previously been watching. No Republicans are expected to vote for the package, which means that all Senate Democrats and nearly all House Democrats will need to back it for it to pass.
The framework comes at a time when Biden’s approval rating is under water and Democrats are trying to show they can rule. Democrats seek to act quickly on the spending package.
A source familiar with the administration’s thinking poured cold water on the idea of significantly altering the framework given the urgency to move the social spending bill and the infrastructure bill. The administration is reaching a point where it feels there is a choice between framework and nothing, the source said.
At the same time, the White House will continue to push for items on Biden’s agenda that were left out of the box for the remainder of the president’s time in office, the source said.
Democratic lawmakers have been broadly positive about the framework and expect the social spending package and infrastructure bill to be voted on next week. Still, lawmakers are trying to see if they can fit some of their agenda items into the scaled-down package.
“We have endorsed the framework, I just want to be clear about it. We have also said that we would welcome anything that is additive that people can negotiate and that gets 50 votes in the Senate, ”said Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal On the money: Progressives sign as Biden rushes to reach an agreement House extends funding for highways through Dec. 3 amid delayed infrastructure vote Progressives win again: No infrastructure vote this night MORE (D-Wash.), Head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The House Rules Committee released legislative text on Thursday that is in line with the framework, but committee chair Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) Noted that the text is not final.
“Most of it is a real bill, [but] there have to be some adjustments, ”he said Thursday night.
A key addition that many Democrats are still pushing for is the inclusion of provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
The price of the drugs fell outside the frame published by the White House, and an administration official said they simply did not have the votes. But leaving politics out would be a major blow to Democrats who have spent years campaigning to cut drug costs.
There are now discussions about a compromised and shortened version that could win the support of a handful of Democrats who have expressed concern over broader versions, worried they will damage the innovation of drug companies developing new treatments.
The potential compromise would be significantly less ambitious than previous versions. For example, it would only allow Medicare to negotiate prices for a smaller group of older drugs that are no longer “exclusive,” meaning they are no longer protected from competition. But Sinema remains a question mark about possible compromise.
The plan also dropped the establishment of Medicare dental and vision benefits, although it did include the creation of a hearing benefit. Senator Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Overnight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Drug pricing outside of Biden’s framework, at least for the moment The Hill 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden pleads with Democrats before heading to Europe Biden greets the ‘landmark’ deal, urges support MORE (I-Vt.) He said Thursday that he still planned to boost dental and vision benefits. But adding those items could be challenging due to their cost.
Paid family leave
Many progressives and advocacy groups are also upset by the omission of paid family leave from the framework and are pushing for some kind of program to return to the spending package.
Other Democratic senators have tried to persuade Manchin to back off on his opposition to including a paid leave program, though his efforts may not ultimately be successful.
Senator Kirsten gillibrandKirsten Gillibrand Manchin Says She Will Support the .75T Price Tag for Spending Plan Collins Takes 8,000 Consecutive Roll Call Votes in the Senate 12:30 PM Report from The Hill – Presented by Facebook – Biden pleads with Democrats before addressing Europe MORE (DN.Y.’s) office said in a statement that the senator “continues her work of nearly a decade to pass a national paid leave plan, either on this bill or the next, but will work to try add it back into the Build Back Better plan until the ink is dry. “
The White House framework omitted several climate provisions, including a fee for methane from oil and gas production, which Democrats still hope will eventually become legislation.
The framework includes $ 555 billion in spending and tax cuts focused on fighting climate change. Climate provisions include clean energy tax credits, a 300,000-member conservation works program called the Civilian Climate Corps, and investments in clean energy and sustainability projects through an accelerator.
However, he did not mention a methane tariff, which Democrats saw as a key way to reduce climate pollution. A source familiar with the negotiations told The Hill on Thursday that it was still being negotiated and could end up in the final bill.
Legislative text released by the House Rules Committee includes the methane fee and several other climate provisions that were not discussed in the framework, including the repeal of drilling at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas leases in the Atlantic. , Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
While the text is designed to be consistent with the White House framework, it is unclear whether the legislation’s approach to a methane tariff is supported by key votes.
Key Democratic lawmakers say they expect changes to the state and local tax deduction (SALT) cap to be included in the final version of the social spending package, although the issue was not included in the White House framework. The issue was also not included in previous versions of the administration’s proposal.
The repeal of the $ 10,000 limit, which was created by the Republican tax law of 2017, is a top priority for many lawmakers in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey. But changes to the cap are costly, and repealing the cap altogether would greatly benefit high-income households.
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard NealRichard Edmund Neal White House framework includes tax increases, omits billionaire taxes Trump’s lawyers ask judge to stop IRS from turning over their tax returns to congressional panel Manchin curbs progressive hopes of billionaires’ taxes MORE (D-Mass.) He said Thursday that he expects the SALT deduction limit to be addressed on the final bill.
Rep. Bill pascrellWilliam (Bill) James Pascrell Progressive Poll Finds Support for Solar Power Tax Credit Legislation Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden’s agenda LIVE COVERAGE: Tax increases take center stage on the sidelines in ways and means MORE (DN.J.) said in a statement Thursday that it hopes to “finalize details on easing the SALT deduction limit cruelly imposed by Republicans in 2017.”
Mike Lillis, Peter Sullivan, and Rachel Frazin contributed.