Dems race to renovate Biden's domestic-policy foundation

The Democratic Party is desperate to find out just how solid Joe Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion social spending framework really is.

Various factions in the party argue that the draft the president tabled this week is not final in hopes of resuming controversial provisions on immigration reform, taxes, Medicare expansion, paid vacation and prescription drug prices before the social spending package is passed will vote.

The House of Representatives has already published hundreds of pages of legislation to fully articulate Biden’s vision, with the bulk of it devoted to climate change and the social safety net. But even after the House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, which could come as early as next week, some Democrats insist that this will not be the last word.

“This deal won’t be closed until the Senate acts,” said Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Who wants to add a billionaire tax to the bill, which now includes a surcharge for ultra-high earners. “Its a lot to do.”

The reality of a 50-50 Senate and a three-vote majority in the House of Representatives can make these efforts much more difficult. Several Democrats said that, aside from ongoing negotiations on Medicare and tax breaks for high-cost states, the current deal with moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona could be as good as they are going to get it .

Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) Said the contours of the bill could change, but “not dramatically”.

“Of course there are dozens of suggestions that people will add to the last resort,” Coons said. “But what we needed was a way forward and a package that anyone could get behind. I think the president succeeded. “

The hodgepodge of opinions on what really needs to be negotiated shows why House progressives were reluctant to pass the Senate bipartisan infrastructure bill this week – and why this deadlock may not be cleared anytime soon. Until it is clear that the deal is essentially immutable, Manchin and Sinema can decide they don’t have to publicly bless it. And until they give their blessings, the Democrats have little reason to stop the attempted horse trade.

“If Senators can make a better decision by 50 votes, we welcome that, and they should do this work,” said MP Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which deals with Sinema. met on Thursday. “Senators actually text me to say they still want to negotiate.”

House Democrats pledged to try to finalize negotiations on the spending package and finally pass the $ 550 billion infrastructure bill next week. However, some senior Democrats are skeptical of what can happen, especially on important outstanding issues such as immigration that have yet to be resolved in the social spending talks.

And many are longing for more clarity from the two democratic moderates in the Senate who cut the bill and redesigned its tax system. Your representations may not be given any time soon.

A Sinema spokesman said in a statement that he had “nothing to add except Senator Sinema’s” Thursday warmth mark for the frame and asked other questions to the White House.

Some call the deal “the product of months of negotiations and input from all Democratic Party members who have a common goal,” but refused to explicitly bless it – although he and Sinema both negotiated it and told Senate colleagues they were support it. His office did not comment on this story.

House Democrats haven’t really “heard any pledges of what the Senate can actually pass,” said MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.). “There is openness and willingness to negotiate and so on, this certainty looks like this, but we need a little more than a promissory note.”

The Democrats are already playing off what happens if the House of Representatives passes a law on social spending that the Upper Chamber insists on changing. Senate leaders warn against passing laws that will create major disagreements as the year draws to a close and the focus shifts to the Democrats’ arduous struggle to defend their Congressional majorities.

“It is possible,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Leader of Party No. 4, “that the Senate could change a House-passed social spending measure.” I don’t see that happening in a radical way could make some tweaks or fine-tuning. “

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told his colleagues Thursday that the final House Bill on Social Expenses will be ready in time next week to resolve technical or procedural issues. Importantly, the Senate MP could still object to certain provisions of the bill and send Democrats back to the drawing board – a major obstacle, particularly to the Democrats’ immigration efforts.

Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.) said the Hispanic caucus in Congress insists on some form of protection for undocumented immigrants under the Social Expenditure Act. Twice this year, however, the MP has rejected similar efforts and cast doubts as to whether this is even possible.

And there’s a reason the prescription drug reform didn’t get started: Democrats are fighting each other over what to include. Sinema negotiated a stripped-down drug law with Biden, but the House Democrats rejected it as far too limited to deliver on the party’s promises.

These discussions continue, with senior Senate Democrats privately saying that prescription drug reform is the most likely item to be included in the deal in the days ahead. Another top candidate for restoration in the final bill is a larger state and local tax deduction, colloquially known as SALT.

And everything else on people’s wish lists? Well, there will be many opportunities to change any bill that the House of Representatives passes during the Senate vote that is required when the bill is discussed.

However, some Democrats say their party has already pushed its flimsy majorities almost as far as possible.

“My impression is that not much is going to change,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). He added that prescription drugs “will be the most interesting topic of discussion for the next 24 to 48 hours … I hope that adjustments can be made here.”

Heather Caygle, Marianne LeVine, Olivia Beavers, and Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.

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