July 29, 2022
On Thursday, July 28, the word was out: Senate Democrats unveiled a surprise, pulled-from-the-ashes $670 billion spending plan that has the blessing of the mercurial centrist Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) It’s an outline to help lower drug prices, give Americans more subsidized health coverage under Obamacare, and mitigate climate change, The Hill reports.
It would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, which sounds similar to proposals Manchin previously rejected.
Scheduled to become law before the Senate escapes for its August break, the proposed reconciliation package needs all 50 Democrats and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as approval by the House. It would be a big win for President Joe Biden—and Republicans have said they are opposed.
“It’s like two brothers from different mothers, I guess. He gets pissed off, I get pissed off, and we’ll go back and forth. He basically put out statements, and the dogs came after me again,” Manchin told Politico in an interview about talks with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York). “We just worked through it.”
In a shocking development, Manchin struck a deal with Schumer after more than a year of hemming and hawing in talks over a number of proposals that had been unable to garner his backing.
Headlining the rejuvenated bill are $369 billion in funding for energy and climate programs over the next ten years—with the goal of reducing emissions by roughly 40% by 2030 and an additional $300 billion to reduce the deficit.
According to a summary released by the two senators, the blueprint would raise $739 billion in new revenue through a variety of proposals:
- $313 billion via a 15% corporate minimum tax;
- $288 billion from empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices;
- $124 billion from strong IRS enforcement of tax law; and
- $14 billion from closing the carried interest loophole for money managers.
The Hill reports that the newly announced proposals will be tacked on to a bill that includes items that were expected to dominate as part of an even-slimmer package—a multiyear extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies aimed at preventing premium increases that is extended through the end of Biden’s first term and provisions aimed at lowering prescription drugs.
According to the two Senate Democrats, the bill will be brought to the floor next week before the upper chamber recesses in August.
The breakthrough hands the party a massive and a seemingly improbable victory that very few, if any, had anticipated. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) told The Wall Street Journal that she only learned of the bill while on the way to the chamber to vote on Wednesday evening.
Research contact: @thehill