August 18, 2022

Democratic Leaders Are Being Urged by Biden To Pass A Pared-Down Economic Package As Soon As Possible

4 min read
Democratic Leaders Are Being Urged by Biden To Pass A Pared-Down Economic Package As Soon As Possible

Washington, D.C. Friday, President Joe Biden appeared to concede to Sen. Joe Manchin’s demand for a scaled-back economic plan, urging Democrats to pass the election-year legislation as soon as possible so families may “sleep easier” and benefit from the savings it calls for in the area of health care.

Hours prior to Biden’s remarks, one of Congress’ more conservative Democrats, West Virginian Senator Joe Manchin, said that if party leaders wanted to pass a bill before next month’s recess, it should be limited to provisions lowering the cost of prescription drugs, extending subsidies for people purchasing health insurance, and reducing the federal deficit.

Biden’s order would delay congressional action on reducing climate change and raising taxes on high earners and major corporations, two things that he and Democrats have long desired to be included in the economic package.

That would be a shocking defeat for objectives that rank among the party’s most fervent hopes and would push out a potentially dangerous showdown over the strategy until just before the elections in November.

The president’s statements emphasized a growing belief among Democrats that it was time to declare victory after months of negotiations with Manchin that only served to reduce the president’s biggest domestic objective. Democratic aims include lowering drug costs, assisting customers in obtaining health insurance, and cutting government spending. If passed, these measures would allow Democrats to brag to voters about accomplishments that Republicans are certain to vehemently oppose.

Democratic Leaders Are Being Urged by Biden To Pass A Pared-Down Economic Package As Soon As Possible

“If Congress takes this move, families around the country will be able to sleep better. Before the August break, the Senate should move the bill forward, pass it, and deliver it to my desk so I can sign it, Biden said in a statement made public by the White House.

Having spent months working with Manchin, he complimented Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, for “his dogged and persistent effort to build the strongest bill” and “even giving major sacrifices to attempt to reach an agreement.”

That sounded like an unintentional jab at Manchin, who in December voted against a much larger, $2 trillion, 10-year version of the plan but was not mentioned in Biden’s comments.

A scaled-back proposal tailored to Manchin’s most recent demands could save the government about $288 billion over the course of ten years by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for the pharmaceuticals it purchases, enforcing rebates from drug manufacturers if prices rise faster than inflation, and implementing other cost-cutting measures.

According to preliminary calculations, it would use only a small portion of that amount on health insurance subsidies that are set to expire in January and allocate the remainder to deficit reduction.

Democrats intended to start reviewing the prescription medication language with the Senate parliamentarian next week in a show of progress, according to a Democratic aide, to make sure there are no elements that are unconstitutional and must be removed. The staffer spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not permitted to publicly disclose the preparations.

Manchin had also indicated Friday that if party leaders want to pursue bigger legislation aimed at global warming and hiking taxes on the affluent and businesses, they should wait until later this summer. Manchin’s support is crucial for Democrats to prevail in the 50-50 Senate. That, according to him, would give time to observe how this month’s inflation and interest rates develop.

On “Talkline,” a West Virginia talk radio program hosted by Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin said, “Let’s wait till it comes out so we know we’re heading down the path that won’t be incendiary to add more to inflation.”

After months of highlighting concerns about inflation as one of the factors motivating his efforts to reduce Biden’s overall compensation, Manchin this week expressed even greater concerns after the government reported that annual inflation touched 9.1 percent in June, the highest increase in 41 years. As the elections for the House and Senate in November draw near, polls indicate that inflation is the voters’ top concern.

Action on climate change and sustainable energy “remains more essential than ever,” according to Biden‘s remarks, while he also indicated that he was prepared to accept delays in congressional action.

He declared, “I will take forceful executive action to meet this moment if the Senate would not act to address the climate problem and build our domestic renewable energy economy.”

Rejecting permits for oil and gas drilling on federal lands and oceans, regulating the emissions allowed from coal-fired facilities, and limiting natural gas pipelines are some of Biden’s choices for executive action or Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Biden’s remarks constituted the most recent concession made by him and congressional Democratic leaders since they first pushed for more expansive targets early last year that would have cost at least $3.5 trillion.

Aside from offering free preschool and low-cost childcare, these initiatives would have also offered paid family leave and other benefits. In the end, they were defeated by Democrats’ slim majorities in Congress and shifting political and economic conditions, which saw voters’ worries about inflation and the economy grow.

Republicans will undoubtedly oppose any plan that is put forth, arguing that increasing taxes and spending will only fuel inflation.

According to a Democrat briefed on the discussions, Manchin had told Schumer on Thursday that he could not support a package at this time that would contain other party objectives like combating climate change and hiking taxes on the affluent and major corporations.

The two legislators are discussing a proposal that was anticipated to total nearly $1 trillion over ten years, with roughly half going toward lowering government deficits.

Related Articles:

Stay tuned to enviro360 for more infotainment news.