WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have reached an agreement on changes to their major economic legislation, they announced Thursday night, overcoming the biggest hurdle to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s top election-year priorities through the chamber. in the coming days.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, a centrist who was seen as the pivotal vote, said in a statement that she had agreed to changes to the measure’s tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward” on the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said lawmakers had reached a compromise “that I think will be supported” by all Democrats in the chamber. His party needs a unanimous vote to pass the measure in the Senate 50-50, along with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Schumer has said he hopes the Senate can begin voting on the energy, environment, health and tax bill on Saturday. Approval by the House, which Democrats closely control, could come as early as next week.
Congressional approval of the election-year measure would complete a stunning last-minute save on Biden’s broad national goals, albeit in a more modest way. Democratic infighting embarrassed Biden and forced him to cut a much larger and more ambitious 10-year version to $3.5 trillion, and then a $2 trillion alternative, leaving the effort all but dead.
This bill, negotiated by Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative, maverick Democrat from West Virginia, would raise $739 billion in revenue. That would come from tax increases for high-income earners and some big corporations, beefed-up tax levies from the IRS and restrictions on drug prices, which would save money for the government and patients.
It would spend much of that on energy, climate and health care initiatives, leaving still more than $300 billion for deficit reduction.
Sinema said Democrats have agreed to scrap a provision that raises taxes on “earned interest,” or profits that go to executives of private equity firms. That has been a proposal she has long opposed, though it is a favorite of Manchin and many progressives.
The accrued interest provision was estimated to produce $13 billion for the government over the next decade, a small portion of the measure’s $739 billion in total revenue.
It will be replaced by a new special tax on share buybacks that will bring in more revenue than that, said a Democrat familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly. The official did not provide further details.
Although he did not provide details, Sinema said he had also agreed to provisions to “protect advanced manufacturing and boost our clean energy economy.”
He noted that Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough is still reviewing the measure to ensure provisions are not removed for violating chamber procedures. “Subject to parliamentary review, I will go ahead,” Sinema said.
Schumer said the measure retained the bill’s language on prescription drug prices, climate change, “closing tax loopholes exploited by large corporations and the wealthy” and reducing federal deficits.
He said that in conversations with other Democrats, the party “addressed a number of important issues that they have raised.” He added that the final measure “will reflect this work and bring us one step closer to enacting this historic legislation.”
THIS IS A LAST MINUTE UPDATE. The previous AP story follows below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have considered reforming proposed taxes on large and wealthy corporations, possibly adding billions to The historical drought of the Westas lawmakers aspired to initial votes on Saturday the economic legislation of the party.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., announced his timeline Thursday as party leaders worked behind the scenes in hopes of winning the unanimity they will need to succeed.
Home to the top priorities of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, the election-year bill would provide hundreds of billions in spending and tax credits to boost clean energy, bolster fossil fuels and renew government support. for people who buy private health insurance. It would increase revenue with tax increases, increase IRS tax revenues, and lower drug prices, saving money for the government and patients.
“We prioritize middle class and working families, rather than those at the top. God bless them, they are doing well,” Schumer said.
Democrats need to win the support of all of their lawmakers to prevail in the Senate 50-50 and avoid a blatant self-inflicted defeat, similar to the one they suffered last November in a much larger version of the package. Republicans are on track to oppose the legislation as asaying his tax increases and spending would worsen inflation and hurt the economy.
“What do the Democrats want to do with all the money they want to take out of the pockets of Americans in the middle of a recession?” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. “They want to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on an issue that exactly 3% of the country say is our biggest problem: far-left environmental and climate spending.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, a fickle centrist, has not made her position clear and is seen as her party’s only potential roadblock.
She is among a group of Western senators seeking to add about $5 billion to the legislation, billed as the largest climate change measure in congressional history, to help their states tackle epic droughts and wildfires. The effort was described by a Democrat familiar with the talks who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Sinema has also expressed interest in reshaping the measure’s 15% minimum tax on some businesses with revenues greater than $1 billion, said another Democrat who was not authorized to publicly describe the senator’s view. They did not provide any details. The proposed tax would raise an estimated $313 billion over a decade, the largest revenue raiser in the legislation.
In defense of that proposal, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released figures showing that between 100 and 125 corporations reporting median revenues of $8.9 billion paid median effective tax rates of 1.1%. The numbers were compiled by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation in Congress.
Sinema has criticized another proposal to raise taxes on executives of hedge funds and other private equity firms. He would raise $13 billion, a small portion of the bill, and is the favorite of progressives and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., a conservative Democrat who helped write the umbrella legislation with Schumer.
The Senate will not be in session on Friday as Democrats continue their talks. That pause will also give Senate Rep. Elizabeth MacDonough time to decide if any of the bill’s provisions violate house rules and should be struck down.
Republicans want to kill as much of the bill as possible, either with MacDonough’s failures or with rolling votes expected to last into Sunday or beyond.
Even if the GOP’s amendments are defeated, they will consider their mission accomplished if they force Democrats to take risky votes during the campaign season on sensitive issues like taxes, inflation and immigration.
Vice President Kamala Harris can vote to break a 50-50 tie and pass the bill.