Democrats launch bid to save Biden’s economic agenda 2022-04-27 16:01:00

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WASHINGTON – Democrats are launching a last-ditch effort to piece together a narrower version of President Biden’s once-swept economic agenda that could win critical support from Senator Joe Manchin (D, VA, Washington state) and give the party a legislative victory before the fall election.

Mr. Manchin met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., New York) on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a partisan line package focused on raising taxes and reducing the budget deficit, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers convened on Monday to discuss ways to boost energy production, another priority. Mr. Manchin.

Democrats view the coming weeks as a crucial window to try to salvage their faltering 50-50 Senate ambitions, as the party must rely on Mr. Manchin’s vote to advance policy goals widely opposed by Republicans. Mr. Manchin last year rejected a package passed by the House of about $2 trillion to spend on health, climate and childcare programs, ending the plan called Build Back Better. Since then, Democrats have leaned around their prized political goals in hopes of eventually reaching a compromise with the West Virginians.

With the midterm elections looming for months, many Democrats are eager to try to start talks before the politics of campaign season complicate efforts — and before they lose their tenuous control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Senator Chris Van Hollen (Dr.) said, “The clock is ticking. This is a perishable moment.”

Mr. Manchin said he would support legislation focused on raising taxes, lowering the deficit, producing more energy in the United States and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. He has rejected several proposals to expand the social safety net, including creating a national paid-time leave program and offering a more generous tax credit to children.

“I think it’s a moment of success or a break for the Build Back Better elements that are still on the table.”


Senator Chris Fan. Howlin (D., Md.)

While Democrats seem to have accepted that many of their original policy goals for the bill would not pass this Congress, they have prioritized measures to combat climate change in the renewed effort. In recent weeks, Mr. Manchin has sought to incorporate easing measures Fossil fuel production also.

Monday’s meeting of Republicans and Democrats on energy policy was an early and broad discussion, according to lawmakers and aides.

“I’m working with a group trying to find a bipartisan way we can move forward on energy, and we just have to see where we’re going,” said Mr. Manchin.

Senator Kevin Cramer (R-NJ) said Republicans would oppose any plan that resembles Democrats’ previous plans to cut carbon emissions.


picture:

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Crafting an energy policy agreement that can win broad support from Democrats, who prioritize aid for clean energy sources like wind and solar, and Republicans, who want to support fossil fuels, will be difficult. Senator Kevin Cramer, who attended the meeting, said Republicans would oppose any plan that resembles Democrats’ previous plans to cut carbon emissions.

“That probably leaves a fairly narrow range depending on what price people are willing to pay,” Kramer said.

Meanwhile, Manchin’s offer to the Republicans has baffled some Democrats, with some skeptical that the talks will produce anything they can support.

“I mean, it’s too soon to know what they’ll include and what they’ll include. I’m going to vote for the strongest possible climate rulings,” said Senator Tina Smith (Dr.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration would not prejudge Manchin’s pursuit of a bipartisan energy plan. She said the White House would “continue to engage with a broad range of Democrats, including, of course, Senator Manchin, about how to accomplish the president’s agenda.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DE, NY) called lawmakers from both parties on Monday to discuss ways to boost energy production.


picture:

Bicyclists / Bloomberg News

A White House official said any bipartisan energy deal must meet the Biden administration’s goals on climate change and energy costs, adding that such a deal would not replace a separate partisan effort.

In his meeting with Mr. Schumer, Mr. Manchin said that the couple discussed how to combat inflation, which he works at Highest level in four decadesBy raising taxes and reducing the deficit. Reducing the deficit through higher taxes can reduce inflation by drawing money out of the economy.

The attempt to bring down inflation has become a major concern for Democrats as it escalated in the past year, affecting the party’s poll numbers. Mr. Manchin said his concerns about inflation led him to oppose the House-passed version of “Building Back Better” last year, and Democrats raced to find ways to show they were dealing with the issue.

Mr. Manchin said Democrats should seek to raise taxes along partisan lines through a process called reconciliation, which allows lawmakers to bypass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Republicans have vehemently opposed Democrats’ plans to raise taxes, which would reverse or change elements of the 2017 tax law that the Republican Party has introduced through Congress along partisan lines and implement important parts of the global corporate tax floor agreement that are a priority for the Biden administration.

“We talked about inflation, [Mr. Schumer] “He wants to do something, basically everything that is done with the tax code, using that to fight inflation,” Mr. Manchin said.

Mr. Schumer, in his own remarks, said raising taxes is the best tool Democrats have to fight inflation.

If you want to get rid of inflation, the only way to do that is to undo a lot of Trump’s tax cuts and raise interest rates. “No Republican will ever do that, so the only way to get rid of inflation is through reconciliation,” Mr. Schumer said.

Economists point to bottlenecks caused by the pandemic in supply chains and a jump in energy costs, combined with an increase in consumer demand driven in part by expanded government stimulus, as the main drivers of today’s high inflation. As such, policymakers’ options for quickly lowering inflation are limited, economists say. Invoice that reduces the deficit Economists said raising taxes could help ease inflation, depending on how much lawmakers direct the deficit in exchange for new expenditures, and how tax and spending allocations are structured.

Even while Democrats broadly support the goal of raising taxes, they have had important disagreements about how to do it. Mr. Manchin said again this week that Democrats should raise the corporate rate to 25% from 21% and the top capital gains rate to 28% from 23.8%.

While a majority of Democrats support these steps, Senator Kirsten Senema (D.D.) opposed them. The party settled on a series of alternatives, such as a minimum corporate tax, to increase revenue, but Mr. Manchin He sought to change Ms. Sinema’s mind About tax plans – so far to no avail.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Senema said: “Any narrow new proposal – including deficit cuts – already has enough tax reform options to pay for it.” “These reforms, backed by the White House, target tax evasion and ensure that businesses pay taxes, while not increasing costs for small businesses or ordinary Americans who are already struggling with inflation.”

write to Andrew Dohren in andrew.duehren@wsj.com

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