Washington — Democrats push their election yearThe Senate approved early Sunday to debate a measure that is less ambitious than President Biden’s original domestic vision, but it touches on ingrained partisan dreams of slowing global warming, lowering drug costs and taxing big corporations.
The debate began on Saturday, and by sunrise Sunday, Democrats had crushed more than a dozen Republican attempts to undermine the legislation, with no clear end in sight. Democratic unity in the 50-50 House, backed by Vice President Kamala Harris’ run-off vote despite unanimous Republican opposition, suggests the party is on track for a morale boost three months after the election when control of Congress is at stake. victory.
The House plans to return briefly after Friday’s summer recess, with Democrats hoping for final approval from Congress.
“I think it will pass,” Mr Biden said in hisHeaded to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, early Sunday to end his COVID-19 quarantine. The House appears on track to provide final congressional approval when it briefly returns from the summer recess on Friday.
“It will lower inflation. It will lower prescription drug costs. It will address climate change. It will close tax loopholes, and it will reduce and reduce deficits,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said of the plan “It will help every citizen of this country and make America a better place,” said Shi.
Republicans said the measure would undermine an economy that policymakers are trying to avoid slipping into recession. They said the bill’s sales tax would hurt jobs and force prices to skyrocket, making it harder to deal with America’s worst inflation since the 1980s.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky argued that “Democrats have robbed American families once with inflation, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time.” He said the legislation Spending and tax increases in the U.S. will eliminate jobs while having minimal impact on inflation and climate change.
Nonpartisan analysts said the Democrats’ “Reducing Inflation Act” had little impact on soaring consumer prices. The bill is just over a tenth of Biden’s initial 10-year, $3.5 trillion progressive aspirations and ditched his proposals for universal preschool education, paid family leave and expanded childcare aid.
Even so, the new measures give Democrats a campaign-season showcase to achieve the coveted goal. It includes the largest-ever federal climate change effort — nearly $400 billion — to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and extend expiring subsidies to help 13 million people afford health care.
Mr. Biden’s initial measure failed after conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposed it, saying it would be too costly and would fuel inflation.
In the test imposed on all budget bills like this, the Senate has been caught up in an hours-long “vote” on quick amendments. Each tested the ability of Democrats to negotiate a compromise between Schumer, progressives, Manchin and the improbably centrist Democratic Sen. Kirsten Sinema of Arizona.
Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed amendments to further expand the health benefits of the legislation, but those efforts have failed. But most of the proposed changes were made by Republicans to unravel the bill or force Democrats to vote in dangerous political spheres.
A Republican proposal would force the Biden administration to continue Trump-era restrictions that have reduced the flow of migrants along the southwest border, citing the pandemic.
Democrats facing a tough re-election earlier this year supported such an extension, when Republicans combined the two issues, forcing the party to back away from its push for COVID-19 spending. This time, Democrats have rallied against border controls as their larger economic legislation is threatened and an election looms.
Other Republican amendments would require more natural gas and oil leases on federal lands and prevent updates to oil charges to fund toxic waste cleanups. All were rejected on partisan votes. Republicans have accused Democrats of being soft on border security, leaving the door open for higher energy and gas costs.
Before debate begins on Saturday, the bill’s prescription drug price limit isby independent members of the Senate. Elizabeth MacDonough, who has challenged the chamber’s process, said a provision that would have imposed steep fines on drugmakers whose prices rose faster than inflation at private insurers should be scrapped.
That’s the Act’s primary protection for the 180 million people who have private health insurance, either through work or purchased for themselves. Under a special process that allows Democrats to pass their bills by a simple majority without the usual 60-vote margin, its rules must focus more on budget figures in dollars and cents than policy changes.
But the thrust of their drug price language remains. That includes letting Medicare negotiate the cost of drugs it pays for its 64 million elderly recipients, penalizing manufacturers for selling drugs to Medicare that exceed inflation rates, and capping beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs to $2,000 a year.
Democrats kept a provision in the bill that would cap the cost of insulin, an expensive diabetes drug, to $35 a month for patients. But the proposal contradicted a ruling by lawmakers that it could not be included, with Democrats failing to get the 60 votes needed to ignore the rule by a 57-43 vote on Sunday morning.
The final cost of the measure is being recalculated to reflect later changes, but overall it will raise more than $700 billion over a decade. The money will come from a 15% minimum tax on a handful of companies with more than $1 billion in annual profits, a 1% tax on companies that buy back their own stock, a strengthening of the IRS and government savings from lower drug costs of taxes.
Sinema forced Democrats to abandon a plan to prevent wealthy hedge fund managers from paying less than their personal income tax rates on their income. She also won $4 billion with other Western senators to fight drought in the region.
Compromises between progressives and Manchin, a champion of fossil fuels and their state’s coal industry, are most evident on energy and the environment.
Tax credits for buying electric cars and manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines will boost clean energy. There will be home energy rebates, money to build clean energy technology factories, and money to promote climate-friendly farming practices and reduce pollution in minority communities.
Manchin has won billions of dollars to help power plants reduce carbon emissions and demanded more government auctions for oil drilling on federal lands and waters. Party leaders have also pledged to push through separate legislation this fall to speed up the permitting of energy projects, which Manchin wants to include in his state with a nearly-completed natural gas pipeline.