Biden urges Democrats to quickly pass Manchin and Schumer’s climate and economic deal

“This bill is far from perfect. It’s a trade-off. But that’s often how progress is made, through trade-offs. The fact is, my message to Congress is this: This is the strongest bill you can pass to reduce inflation, reduce the deficit, reduce health care costs, fight climate crises and promote energy security – all while reducing the burdens on families of working class and middle class,” Biden said during a speech at the White House the day after the deal was announced.

“So pass it off. Pass it off as the American people. Pass it off as America.”

The president detailed some of the bill’s provisions on Thursday, highlighting tax credits for Americans’ fuel-efficient appliances and electric vehicles, as well as job creation in manufacturing, energy clean, solar energy and clean hydrogen.

“Put simply: the bill will reduce health care costs for millions of Americans and it will be the most significant investment we have ever made in our energy security and the development of cost savings and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future,” Biden said. .

He also touted a deal that will force companies to “pay their fair share” of taxes.

The deal, called the Cut Inflation Act of 2022, contains a number of Democrat goals. Many details have still not been disclosed, but the measure would invest $369 billion in energy and climate change programs, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, according to a report. one-page information. For the first time, Medicare would have the ability to negotiate prices for certain drugs and cap out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 for people enrolled in Medicare drug plans. It would also extend expiring enhanced grants for Affordable Care Act coverage for three years.

The deal came after more than a year of rocky negotiations, marking a major turnaround for Manchin, who had previously refused to go along with the president’s plan. The bill has a serious chance of becoming law as early as August — assuming Democrats can pass the bill in the House and it passes with the Senate congressman to allow it to pass along the straight lines of the House. party in the budget process.

Biden acknowledged on Thursday that there were many of his priorities that weren’t in the bill, saying, “I know the compromise on the inflation bill doesn’t include everything I’ve been asking for since that I am in power.”

But, he said, it was a major step.

“I know it can … sometimes feel like nothing is getting done in Washington. … The work of government can be slow and frustrating and sometimes even infuriating,” Biden said. “Then the hard work of hours, days and months for people who refuse to give up pays off. History is written. Lives are changed. With this legislation we face some of our most big problems and we take a giant leap forward as a nation.”

The president also promised to continue fighting for provisions that were not in the new plan, including reducing the costs of childcare, elder care, kindergarten, housing, university and health care.

On a local radio show earlier Thursday, Manchin argued the bill should be welcomed by both sides, saying it doesn’t “really” raise taxes or raise inflation, while creating a good energy policy.

“It’s a bill for the country,” Manchin said. “This is not a bill for Democrats. And this is not a bill Republicans should care about.”

Biden spoke with Manchin and Schumer on Wednesday afternoon — his first call with Manchin since December. The president thanked the two lawmakers for reaching an agreement.

But in the radio interview, Manchin said he and his team worked with Schumer and his team to craft the legislation, saying Biden was “not involved.”

“It was me and my staff,” Manchin told host Hoppy Kercheval. “And then we worked with Schumer’s staff. My staff was driving it. We drafted the bill. Schumer’s staff was reviewing it and we were negotiating, and we worked with them.”

Obstacles to passage of the bill remain

There are factors complicating the bill’s swift passage – Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin announced on Thursday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and would be in self-isolation. To pass the bill, Democrats would need their 50 senators to be present and vote in favor of the bill, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote, as all Republicans would have to vote against the deal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the package, calling it “nonsense and candy for the wealthy coastal elites.”

“That’s the nonsense that Democrats are focusing on,” McConnell said. “Don’t help you put gas in your car, don’t help you pay for your groceries. They want to use the middle-class economic crisis they themselves created as an excuse to raise your taxes and drive the highlight of their new green deal.”

He added: “Our colleagues opposite have already completely lost America’s faith in the economy before this reckless fiscal and spending spree. Apparently now they want to see how low they can fall.”

Complicating matters further is Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a key moderate, who has yet to weigh in on the bill. She has previously raised concerns about deferred interest taxes, which would bring in $14 billion under the deal. Sinema was not part of the negotiations for the current package.

Manchin told reporters on Thursday he hoped the $739 billion bill would advance in the Senate before the chamber left for the August recess, but acknowledged he had not spoken to Sinema.

“I didn’t tell him about it,” Manchin said. “I hope she would be receptive.” He added that he was “not prepared” to lose the provision that would boost revenue by closing the carried interest loophole.

In a closed meeting on Thursday, Schumer privately told Democrats that now is the time to get a bill to address climate change and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

“We now have the opportunity to push through these two extremely important priorities before the August recess,” he said, according to a Democrat inside the room.

“It will require us to stick together and work long days and nights for the next 10 days. We will have to be disciplined in our messages and our focus. It will be difficult. But I believe we can get…this…Over.”

News of the deal stunned Republicans on Wednesday. The deal was announced shortly after the Senate passed a bill to boost U.S. semiconductor production, legislation that McConnell had threatened to block if Democrats tried to pass a package. climatic and economic.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune, when asked if the GOP had been tricked into letting the so-called CHIPS bill pass before the Democrats’ economic deal was cut, told CNN: “I I think everyone was certainly surprised by the representations that had been made by the Democrats about this deal, and I think there were a number of people caught off guard – not just on our side, but on the side of the Democrats.

When asked if McConnell had played properly, he replied, “You’ll have to discuss it with him.”

The bill — the full text of which has not been made public — is also expected to pass through the House, where Democrats have a more substantial, but still slim, majority.

Progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, called the Manchin-Schumer deal a “great step forward” and a “massive achievement,” expressing her confidence in the deal on the ‘New Day’ show. CNN.

“Welcome, Joe Manchin. Glad to work with you to get this done,” she said.

But there are still landmines in the House, including whether to revise caps on state and local tax deductions that have been demanded by a handful of mostly Northeastern Democrats.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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