U.S. House expected to vote on Biden infrastructure bills Friday

Biden prepares for make or break votes on his Build Back Better and social spending bills TODAY despite Manchin’s vocal opposition: President’s domestic agenda hangs in the balance

  • House is expected to vote Friday on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act and bipartisan infrastructure bill
  • The votes on the bills that form the cornerstone of Biden’s legislative agenda will be held at 8am
  • Biden lobbied Democrats in the House by phone on Thursday night to vote ‘yes’, a White House official said
  • Affirmative vote before the end the U.N. climate conference would bolster the credibility of Biden’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030
  • Democrats are reeling from a disappointing loss in Virginia this week when a Republican won the governor’s office in a state Biden won handily in 2020 

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote at 8am Friday on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act and the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed in the Senate in August.

Democrats have failed to meet previous self-imposed deadlines to pass the bills that form the cornerstone of Biden’s legislative agenda, but the aide said that leadership was confident on finishing on Friday. 

Biden lobbied Democrats in the House on Thursday night to vote ‘yes’ on his social policy and climate-change bill, as the party tries to recover from sobering state election losses.    

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote at 8am Friday on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed in the Senate in August, according to a senior Democratic aide

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked furiously into the night at the Capitol Thursday and kept the House late to shore up votes 

A White House official said Biden was calling various House members and urging them to vote yes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked furiously into the night at the Capitol Thursday and kept the House late to shore up votes. 

‘We’re going to pass both bills,’ Pelosi insisted at a midday press briefing.

Her strategy now seems focused on passing the most robust bill possible in her chamber and then leaving the Senate to adjust or strip out the portions its members won’t agree to. The House Rules Committee was set to convene late Thursday to prepare the bill for floor votes.

Biden left for Europe last week for a meeting of G20 leaders and a U.N. climate conference without a deal on the legislation. 

An affirmative vote before the conclusion of the climate conference in Glasgow on November 12 would bolster the credibility of Biden’s pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. 

With a 221-213 majority in the House of Representatives and a united Republican opposition, Democrats need near unanimity to pass legislation.

Half the size of Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion package, the now sprawling 2,135-page bill has won over most of the progressive Democratic lawmakers, even though it is smaller than they wanted. But the chamber’s more centrist and fiscally conservative Democrats continued to mount objections.

Overall the package remains more far-reaching than any other in decades. Republicans are fully opposed to Biden’s bill.

The big package would provide large numbers of Americans with assistance to pay for health care, raising children and caring for elderly people at home.

There would be lower prescription drug costs, limiting the price of insulin to $35 a dose, and Medicare for the first time would be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for prices of some other drugs, a long-sought Democratic priority.

Medicare would have a new hearing aid benefit for older Americans, and those with Medicare Part D would see their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs capped at $2,000.

The package would provide some $555 billion in tax breaks encouraging cleaner energy and electric vehicles, the nation’s largest commitment to tackling climate change.

With a flurry of late adjustments, the Democrats added key provisions in recent days – adding back a new paid family leave program, work permits for immigrants and changes to state and local tax deductions.

Much of package’s cost would be covered with higher taxes on wealthier Americans, those earning more than $400,000 a year, and a 5% surtax would be added on those making over $10 million annually. Large corporations would face a new 15% minimum tax in an effort to stop big businesses from claiming so many deductions that they end up paying zero in taxes.

Democrats have been working to resolve their differences, particularly with holdout Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who forced cutbacks to Biden’s bill but championed the slimmer infrastructure package that had stalled amid deliberations.

Democrats have been working to resolve their differences, particularly with holdout Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who forced cutbacks to Biden’s bill but championed the slimmer infrastructure package that had stalled amid deliberations

Environmental activists swarm Democrat Manchin’s $80K Maserati as he tries to leave parking lot in protest at his opposition to Biden’s infrastructure plan 

A throng of climate protesters swarmed Sen. Joe Manchin’s car Thursday morning in an effort to confront him about his opposition to President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar social spending plan.

The environmental activists followed Manchin from his $700,000 houseboat on the Potomac River in Washington DC to a parking garage where he keeps his $80,000 Maserati Levante as they chanted ‘pass climate change bills,’ ‘we want to live!’ and ‘fight for us!’

Video shared on social media shows the group in the garage surrounding the Maserati as Manchin honks his horn.

One protestor even alleged that the Democrat tried to run them over.

‘This is Joe Manchin’s car slowly pressing into our peaceful protestors,’ a woman is heard saying in video posted by Hunger Strike 4 Climate Action.

The West Virginia Democrat and his colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), have been routinely targeted by activists since they openly criticized Biden’s $1.75trillion Build Back Better Act.

‘I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy and the American people,’ Manchin previously said. 

A throng of climate protesters swarmed Sen. Joe Manchin’s car Thursday morning in an effort to confront him about his opposition to President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar social spending plan

They followed him from the boat, housed on the Potomac River in Washington DC, to the parking garage where he keeps his Maserati Levante

The senator, accompanied by his security team, does not appear to interact with the protestors, other than honking his horn as they surrounded the vehicle from all sides. 

The guards were ultimately able to clear a path for Manchin to exit the garage. 

The Democrat has not publicly commented on the incident. However, social media users are slamming the activists for their aggressive behavior.

Protestors have attempted to confront Manchin, as well as Sinema – the other key holdout on the social spending plan – on numerous occasions over the past few months. 

Democrats are reeling from a disappointing loss in Virginia this week when a Republican won the governor’s office in a state Biden won handily in 2020. 

The party is eager to show it can move forward on the president’s agenda, and fend off Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections when control of the House and Senate will be on the line.

The nonpartisan U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report scoring the ‘Build Back Better’ legislation’s tax revenue provisions at $1.48 trillion over the next decade.  

Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said the committee’s analysis did not account for additional revenue from provisions intended to enhance the Internal Revenue Service’s tax collection and to lower the cost of prescription drugs for the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly.

‘It’s an objective view that it is solidly paid for,’ Pelosi told reporters after a meeting of House Democrats on the legislation.

Moody’s Analytics analysts said on Thursday the bills would be fully paid for and add jobs, but that implementing them would take ‘deft governance.’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks on her phone on Capitol Hill on Thursday

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a statement saying the legislation would raise more than $2 trillion, enough to pay for the bill and ‘reduce deficits over the long term.’ 

The tax committee assesses only the tax provisions in legislation. The Congressional Budget Office, another nonpartisan arm of Congress, is expected to provide revenue scores for the IRS and drug-pricing provisions, Democrats said. But a final CBO report is not expected this week.

In a meeting with fellow Democrats on Thursday morning, Pelosi expressed hope for action on both bills this week, a source familiar with her remarks said.

If passed by the House, the social policy legislation would move to the Senate, also narrowly controlled by Democrats, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to enact it before the November 25 Thanksgiving holiday.

The legislation would raise $640 billion from tax increases on high-income individuals and $814 billion from corporate and international tax reforms from 2022 to 2031, the Joint Committee on Taxation said.

Congress faces another pair of critical deadlines in less than a month: Lawmakers set a December 3 deadline to avoid a potentially economically devastating default on the federal government’s debt, as well as to avert a politically embarrassing government shutdown.

What’s in, and what’s out, as House nears vote on Biden bill 

President Joe Biden’s now plan to boost social and education programs as well as protect against global warming continues to be fine-tuned by Democrats in Congress with a new goal of completing work before Thanksgiving.

The updated plan includes universal preschool, funding to limit child care costs and a one-year continuation of a child tax credit that was expanded earlier this year and applied to more families. But Democrats are scaling back some investments and shortening the timeframe for funding to whittle down spending. Some proposals have been dropped entirely.

Here’s what’s in the package, based on summaries provided by the White House and the House.

 TAX BREAKS

– An expanded child tax credit would continue for another year. As part of a COVID relief bill, Democrats increased the tax credit to $3,000 per child ages 6-17 and $3,600 per child 5 and under. Households earning up to $150,000 per year get the credit paid to them on a monthly basis. Budget hawks worry that a one-year extension is a budgetary tool that will lower the cost of the program on paper, but mask its true costs since lawmakers tend to continue programs rather than let them expire.

– The expanded Earned Income Tax Credit that goes to 17 million childless, low-wage workers would continue for one year.

EDUCATION

– Universal prekindergarten would be established for all 3- and 4-year-olds and child-care subsidies would be provided for poorer and middle-income Americans. But the programs are funded only for six years.

– $40 billion would be provided for higher education and workforce development. This includes raising the size of Pell Grants and providing funding for historically black colleges and universities as well as institutions that largely serve Hispanic students or tribal communities.

HEALTH CARE

– Medicare would be expanded to cover hearing aids, costing an estimated $35 billion over 10 years.

– Expanded tax credits for insurance premiums tied to the Affordable Care Act would be extended through 2025. The White House says that would help 3 million uninsured people gain coverage.

– $150 billion for a Medicaid program that supports home health care, helping to clear a backlog and improving working conditions.

– $90 billion for investments that would include funding maternal health, community violence initiatives, disadvantaged farmers, nutrition and pandemic preparation.

– Out-of-pocket Medicare Part D costs for older Americans would be capped at $2,000 and the price of insulin reduced to no more than $35 a dose.

– A Medicare drug negotiation program would be established. Each year, the secretary of Health and Human Services would identify 100 brand-name drugs that lack price competition and from that list negotiate the price of up to 10 drugs in 2025, 15 in 2026 and 2027, and 20 thereafter. Insulin products must also be negotiated. A drug selected for negotiation would continue to be included in the program until competition enters the market.

CHILD CARE

– Biden’s plan says parents earning up to 250% of a state´s median income should pay no more than 7% of their income on child care. Parents must be working, seeking a job, in school or dealing with a health issue to qualify.

HOUSING

– $150 billion would be committed toward housing affordability with a goal of building more than 1 million new rental and single-family homes. The goal would be to reduce price pressures by providing rental and down payment assistance.

 

 ENVIRONMENT

– Clean energy tax credits would receive $320 billion worth of funding. These credits over 10 years would help businesses and homeowners shift to renewable energy sources for electricity, vehicles and manufacturing.

– $105 billion would be directed toward investments that would improve communities’ ability to withstand extreme weather caused by climate change. The funding would also create a Civilian Climate Corps that focuses on conserving public lands and bolstering community resilience to flooding, drought and other weather emergencies.

– $110 billion would help develop new domestic supply chains and develop new solar and battery technologies. Support would also be given to existing steel, cement and aluminum industries.

– $20 billion would be allotted for the government to become the buyer of clean energy technologies as part of its procurement process.

– $9 billion would be allocated for lead remediation projects, such as the replacement of water lines or the replacement of school drinking water fountains that may contain lead.

TAXES

– Biden’s plan bolsters the IRS to improve collections and close the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.

– A 15% minimum income tax would be applied to large corporations, along with a 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks. The U.S. would also be aligned with an agreement reached by more than 100 countries designed to deter multinational companies from stashing profits in low-tax countries.

– The bill would create a new surtax on multimillionaires and billionaires and close a provision that allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying the 3.8% Medicare tax on their earnings.

– A $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions would be raised to $72,500. Tax analysts say the change would largely benefit high-income households.

IMMIGRATION

– Those who entered the United States prior to Jan. 2, 2011, and have continuously resided there since would be eligible for renewable parole grants for five years after paying an administrative fee and completing security and background checks. The parole status gives recipients authorization to travel and work in the U.S. and deems them eligible for a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or a state identification card.

PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

– Eligible workers would receive up to four weeks of paid leave to reimburse them for time taken to care for a new child or other family members or to recover from illness. Biden had initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave.

WHAT’S OUT OF THE BILL

– A proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental and vision care is out because of concerns about the cost.

– A proposal to allow for up to two years of free community college is out.

 

 

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