President Joe Biden expressed confidence on Tuesday he would get Joe Manchin’s vote for his $1.75 trillion package of social programs despite the senator claiming it is filled with ‘shell games’ and ‘budget gimmicks.’
‘He will vote for this,’ Biden said as he wrapped up his trip to the COP26 climate summit. ‘I believe that Joe will be there.’
Manchin has refused to endorse the framework that the White House announced last week and said Tuesday there is ‘no rush’ on getting the legislation completed.
‘It’s going to be a while,’ he said of talks.
President Joe Biden expressed confidence he would get Joe Manchin’s vote for his $1.75 trillion package of social programs
The senator from West Virginia said the bill’s tax provisions – which include a new surtax on millionaires’ income – amount to ‘overhauling the entire tax code.’
‘That is tremendous and there needs to be input,’ he said.
Manchin, in a shocking move, announced on Monday that he wouldn’t support Biden’s plan without ample time to consider its economic and fiscal ramifications. In the 50-50 Senate, the president needs every Democratic vote to pass his agenda.
In his remarks, Manchin also slammed House Democrats for not passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill already approved by the Senate. Progressives in the House have refused to support that legislation until they have assurances from Manchin and fellow moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema that they will support the package of social programs.
Biden refused to answer questions about Senator Joe Manchin torpedoing his domestic agenda
‘Holding that bill hostage is not going to work to get my support of what you want,’ Manchin said of the infrastructure bill.
And the West Virginia senator said of the social package: ‘I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward, but I’m equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country.’
Manchin spoke four days after Biden visited Capitol Hill to announce he had a framework plan he thought Democrats could agree to, which included two years of free pre-K, some expanded Medicaid benefits and some climate change programs.
But the president’s original vision was cut nearly in half to secure Manchin and fellow moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s support while keeping the liberal wing of the party on board.
Democrats are rushing to overcome their intra-party battle between the moderate and liberal wings and finish a final draft of Biden’s big plan.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said privately she expects to wrap up legislation on Tuesday and put it on track for a vote as soon as Thursday.
And the leader of the House’s Congressional Progressive Caucus indicted the liberals were ready to vote for both pieces of Biden’s legislative agenda without reassurances from Manchin and Sinema.
‘The President said he thinks he can get 51 votes for this bill. We are going to trust him. We are going to do our work in the House and let the Senate do its work,’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal told CNN. ‘But we’re tired of, you know, just continuing to wait for one or two people.’
She conceded her voting bloc had backed down. With only a four-seat margin in the House, Pelosi cannot afford to lose many of her Democrats in a vote.
‘We had called for a Senate vote some time ago, but we backed off of that position in deference to the President and with trust in the two senators and the rest of the Senate,’ she noted.
‘And we now have said that we will vote for both bills in the House together. And that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we are ready to do,’ she said.
One big item was wrapped up Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a deal to lower prescription drug costs for older people, capping out-of-pocket Medicare costs at $2,000 and reducing the price of insulin.
Schumer acknowledged it’s not as sweeping as Democrats had hoped for, but it earned the support of Sinema.
‘It´s not everything we all want. Many of us would have wanted to go much further, but it´s a big step in helping the American people deal with the price of drugs,’ Schumer said.
Sinema’s office issued a statement saying the senator ‘welcomes a new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors.’
Biden unveiled a framework for the package last week, a sizable investment in social service programs and climate change strategies, but Democrats are trying to negotiate the drug prices for seniors, immigration law changes and other final updates.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal said House progressives were ready to vote for both of Biden’s bills
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a deal to lower prescription drug costs for older people, wrapping up one key item
The $1.75 trillion package is sweeping in its reach, and would provide large numbers of Americans with assistance to pay for health care, education, raising children and caring for elderly people in their homes. It also would provide some $555 billion in tax breaks encouraging cleaner energy and electrified vehicles, the nation’s largest commitment to tackling climate change.
Much of its costs would be covered with higher taxes on people earning over $10 million annually and large corporations, which would now face a 15% minimum tax in efforts to stop big business from claiming so many deductions they end up paying zero in taxes.
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