Deal on $2T Biden package, seems close but elusive

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A deal within reach, with President Joe Biden and Congress’s top Democrats getting closer to sealing their massive domestic legislation, though the unofficial deadline appeared to be slipping as they sought to roll back the measure and determine how to pay for it. Work done.

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Talks were expected to continue over the weekend, with all sides indicating that a comprehensive package of social services and climate change strategies simply did not address some of the issues.

Biden met at the White House on Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who joined the video call from New York, trying to shrug off the details. The leaders are working closely with party moderates and progressives—to limit the one-time $3.5 trillion, 10-year package to nearly $2 trillion in child care, health care and clean energy programs.


Pelosi said a deal is “very likely.”

She told reporters at the Capitol that more than 90% of the package had been agreed: the climate change components of the bill have been “resolved,” but outstanding questions remained over health care provisions.

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Vice President Kamala Harris seemed even more certain. On a visit to New York City, she said that tensions often mount over the last detail but “I believe, frankly — not only optimistic, but I believe we’ll reach a deal.”

No agreement was announced until Friday’s self-imposed deadline to agree at least a basic framework. Biden wants a deal before he leaves next week for a global summit in Europe.

Pelosi hoped the House could start voting next week, but no schedule was set.

Sticking points include a proposed corporate tax hike to help finance the plan and an effort to reduce the cost of drugs that raise concerns of the pharmaceutical industry. Democrats are looking for a broad agreement between the party’s progressives and moderates on the measure’s price tag, revenue sources and basic components.

At the White House, the president “has up his sleeve and is in-depth into the details of spreadsheets and numbers,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.

Biden was to spend the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Psaki likens the work to introducing Social Security and other major federal programs decades ago, then building on them in later years.

“The progress here is a historic package that will establish systems and programs that never existed before in our society,” he said, adding to the effort to expand child care and provide free preschool for all youth. keeping in mind.

Talks are moving forward as Biden appeals more strongly to the American public, including a televised town hall that he says has middle-class values ​​at the center of his proposal.

In a Senate that is evenly divided between Democrats and strongly opposing Republicans, Biden cannot afford to lose a single vote. He is navigating factions of his party – the progressives, who want big investments in social services, and the centrists, who like to see the overall price tag come down.

“When you’re president of the United States, you have 50 Democrats — each one is a president. Each one. So you have to work,” he said Thursday during CNN town hall.

Still, he expressed optimism about the process. “It is all about compromise. Compromise has become a dirty word, but bipartisanship and compromise are still possible,” he said.

On one issue – the tax to pay for the package – the White House’s idea was going ahead with a new strategy of abandoning plans to reverse the Trump-era tax cuts in favor of an approach that would introduce a 15% corporate minimum tax. installation will be involved. And also taxing billionaires’ investment income to help finance the deal.

Biden has faced resistance from major holdouts, notably Sen. Kirsten Cinemas, D-Ariz., which seeks to undo President Donald Trump’s tax breaks for large corporations and individuals earning more than $400,000 per year. was not with his party plan.

The president was unusually open Thursday night about cinema and the sticking points in talks with another Democrat from West Virginia, conservative Sen. Joe Manchin.

While the president said that cinema opposed raising “a penny in taxes” on the wealthy or corporations, a White House official later clarified that the president was referring to raising top tax rates, not tax proposals. Seema “Joe Sen Supports Cinema.”

If so, it could open up a significant chunk of a deal. With a better understanding of the available revenue, Democrats can then develop a peak amount of spending for the package, and adjust the duration and amounts for the various programs accordingly.

Biden said Manchin doesn’t want to “hurry” the transition to clean energy so quickly it will result in major job losses in his coal-producing state.

Still, Biden acknowledged a major flaw in his original vision.

He indicated that the final plan would no longer provide free community college, but said he expected to increase Pell grants to compensate for the policy’s disadvantages.

He also said that what was envisioned as a federal paid, month-long family leave program would be just four weeks.

Another work in progress — the idea of ​​expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors, is a priority for independent Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Biden said he liked the idea, but with opposition from Munchkin and cinema, the proposal is “reachable.”

Instead, Democrats, he said, are considering offering senior citizens an $800 voucher for dental care as well as hearing aids to access another program that cinema can support. However, the vision care component, Biden said, has become harder to solve and there…

Credit: / Joe Biden

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