Democrats on the cusp of broad agreement on Biden’s agenda

After months of tense talks, delayed voting and internal clashes, Democratic leaders are about to solidify a deal on President BidenJoe Biden Biden Administration Targets Methane Emissions McConnell Criticizes Possible Payments to Separated Migrant Families Poll: 50 percent of Republicans don’t think their vote is accurately counted MOREThe broad national agenda, setting the stage for the House to vote on both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a broader social benefits package in the coming days.

Party leaders announced on Tuesday a close agreement on a proposal to curb prescription drug costs, which was among the party’s latest stubborn divisions between liberals and moderates, and lawmakers said they were also closing in on a deal. on a new tax cut for those living in the high-income regions of the country, which was demanded by the centrists.

Spokesman Nancy pelosiNancy PelosiDefense & National Security Overnight – Showdown Over Sub-Deal Escalates House Democrats Ignoring Manchin Manchin Frustrates Democrats With Latest Outburst MORE (D-Calif.) He said the final language of the social spending package could be released Tuesday night – “That’s the hope,” he said – and across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Charles schumerChuck Schumer Democrats Face Wrath From Women Over Loss Of Paid Leave Ocasio-Cortez Presses Biden On Student Debt: ‘You Don’t Need Manchin’s Permission For Those’ 535 ‘Presidents’ With Veto Power: Why The budget agreement remains elusive MORE (DN.Y.) said the upper house aims to consider the legislation in the week of November 15.

“We are reaching our conclusions,” Pelosi said.

The rapid developments came after weeks of stagnation, and were quickly applauded by Democrats of all stripes, who have watched in exasperation as negotiations dragged on for months of missed deadlines, bad press and public complaints that helped sink approval numbers. of Biden. .

“We have a bill,” a key negotiator, Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money – Presented by Citi – Progressives Ignore Manchin, Warning House Democrats Ignore Manchin Manchin Demands Infrastructure Vote; delay support for expense bill PLUS (D-Wash.) He testified on Tuesday. “We didn’t have that last week” when Biden arrived at the Capitol. “We had a wish and a prayer and a promise and a frame. … And now we are going to vote on both bills ”.

Republicans have lashed out throughout the process, attacking Biden’s welfare package as a dangerous case of government overreach and characterizing the Democratic majority as ineffective lawmakers. Not a single Republican lawmaker in either house is expected to support the $ 1.75 trillion legislation.

Democrats dismissed those criticisms flatly, saying infighting is part of the “hot dog” routine needed to make any major legislation. Those tensions will be long forgotten, Democrats argue, when the president’s agenda is enacted and the many family benefits begin to reach workers and families across the country.

“Day-to-day things, everything fades away,” said Rep. Matt cartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightHouse Democrats reintroduce bill to empower public sector unions I’ve seen the Camp Lejeune tragedy – we can’t wait any longer to help those affected by toxic water Democrats worry about district retirements Trump before the midterm elections MORE (D-Pa.). “I feel really good about it.”

Yet even as Democrats were celebrating, there were reminders that more work must be done to get the two bills to Biden’s desk. Senator Joe manchinJoe Manchin On The Money – Presented by Citi – Progressives ignore Manchin warning Cori Bush criticizes Manchin for opposition to spending bill: ‘Anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman and anti-Immigrant’ Overnight Energy & Environment – Presented by The American Petroleum Institute – Glasgow Summit begins MORE (D), the centrist West Virginia who led the effort to reduce the expansion of Biden’s social safety net, stated Tuesday that he has not endorsed a framework Biden unveiled last week, let alone a bill. final.

“There [were] a couple of concerns that we had and that we had to resolve, ”Manchin said.

Manchin has also been reluctant to vote on a huge federal spending package before the Congressional Budget Office releases the cost estimate, a sentiment echoed this week by House moderates.

Still, Biden predicted Tuesday night that Manchin will finally get on board.

“You will vote for this if we have in this proposal what you have anticipated,” Biden told reporters in Scotland, where the president is participating in a global climate summit, a gathering that has only raised the stakes to secure climate provisions in his social networks. expense package.

Biden’s ability to secure Manchin’s support is crucial to the success of both bills, not only because Democrats have only 50 senators in the upper house, but because House liberals have relied on their support for the Senate packages. infrastructure and social spending on Biden’s promise that the latter can pass the Senate without a Republican vote.

“We are going to trust that the president will cast 51 votes. He is sure he can cast 51 votes. We are going to trust him, ”Jayapal said.

Manchin isn’t the only standout wild card in the rapidly evolving debate.

As of Tuesday night, Democrats were also scrambling to resolve a number of pending issues, from immigration and Medicare expansion to climate provisions. Senator Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Sanders Responds to Manchin Spending Concerns Manchin frustrates Democrats with the latest outburst of the Democratic race to reach an agreement on the price of prescription drugs MORE (I-Vt.) He also threw a setback in the talks when he suggested that he will not support the proposed tax cut for high-income regions, as much of the change would benefit some of the richest people in the country.

“At a time of enormous income and wealth inequality, the last thing we should do is give more tax breaks to the very rich,” Sanders said in a statement.

Still, Sanders said there is plenty of room to find a compromise that “protects the middle class in high-tax states.” And the prescription drug deal gave Democrats a boost as they headed for the finish line.

The agreement would empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices in limited cases; prevent drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation; and limit out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Medicare to $ 2,000 per year.

Tuesday’s drug price deal was downgraded significantly from the original House Democrats ‘proposal to win support from key moderates who argued that a more radical overhaul would have hurt drug companies’ innovation to develop new treatments. A trio of moderate Democrats – Sen. Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten SinemaCori Bush criticizes Manchin for opposition to spending bill: ‘Anti-black, anti-child, anti-women and anti-immigrant’ Manchin frustrates Democrats with latest White House outburst ‘confident’ in that Manchin will support the reconciliation framework MORE (Ariz.) And Reps. Scott petersScott H. PetersOvernight Health Care: Superior Court Skeptic about Texas Law Democrats Compete to Agree on Prescription Drug Pricing Vulnerable Democrats Pressure Leadership to Lower Drug Prices in Biden Package MORE (California) and Kurt schraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderOvernight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Drug pricing outside of Biden’s framework, at least for now, Democratic presidents say they are not giving up on adding drug pricing measure to spending framework by Biden leaves out the negotiation of Medicare drug prices MORE (Pray.) – helped negotiate the compromise.

“It is not everything we all wanted; many of us would have liked to go much further. But it is a big step in helping the American people deal with the price of drugs, “Schumer told reporters when announcing the deal.

At the same time, Democrats made significant progress on a key demand from moderate lawmakers in high-tax blue states: lifting the limit of the federal allowable deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT.

Negotiators said Tuesday they were weighing a proposal to remove the SALT limit for five years. The cap would then return in 2026 and run until 2031, thus paying for the proposal.

“Today’s news is encouraging that a repeal of the SALT limit is included in the final reconciliation package,” said a trio of moderate Democrats, representatives. Josh gottheimerJoshua (Josh) Gottheimer Democrats call for the IRS bank reporting proposal to be removed from the Podemos spending bill and we will meet the climate test in the Build Back Better Act 5 sticking points holding back the spending package of the Democrats MORE (NEW JERSEY), Mikie sherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle Sherrill Katie Hill Launches Effort to Protect the Democratic Majority in the House of Representatives House Panel Approves Momentum B for the Democratic Defense Budget Introduces Bill to Allow Only Members of the Camera act as Spokesperson MORE (New Jersey) and Thomas Suozzi (New York) said in a joint statement. “We will continue to work with House and Senate leaders to ensure that the SALT deduction limit is repealed.

“Without SAL, there is no deal. No SAL, no dice. ”

But progress at SALT led to complaints from other corners of the Democratic Party. Aside from Sanders’ criticism, Democrats in regions not heavily affected by the SALT deduction argued that taxpayers in their states would be effectively subsidizing tax breaks for the wealthiest families in coastal states; Republicans, who capped deductions in their 2017 Trump tax cuts bill, are sure to seize the issue.

“It’s going to be a big campaign issue that will hurt non-coastal states in the midterm elections,” said a House Democrat.

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