House Democrats Hunt for Votes to Pass Biden’s Domestic Agenda

With Republicans unanimously opposed, Democrats are pushing the social policy and climate measure through Congress under a special process known as reconciliation that shields budget-related legislation from a filibuster and allows it to pass on a simple majority. But Democrats need the votes of each of their senators to pass the bill.

That means senators are likely to change the social policy bill, which heightened anxieties in the House. Ms. Pelosi had promised swing-district Democrats that she would not make them vote for politically difficult provisions that would not pass the Senate; but on Thursday, she was asking them to do exactly that. The immigration measures are likely to be altered or eliminated altogether after the Senate parliamentarian, who enforces the strict reconciliation rules, rejected far broader proposals for a pathway to citizenship.

Supporters of the measures demanded their inclusion.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Representative Jimmy Gomez, Democrat of California, said of the fate of the immigration measures in the Senate. “The important thing is that they’re in when they leave” the House.

Then there was the matter of understanding what was in the bill. In a letter this week, five Democrats — including Representatives Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Jared Golden of Maine, as well as Mr. Gottheimer — urged Ms. Pelosi to grant them at least 72 hours to review the text of the social policy bill and wait for a full analysis from congressional scorekeepers confirming that the bill was fully paid for.

“What I’d like to do is be a reasonable legislator and understand the full context of the bill, as well as how much it’s going to cost taxpayers,” Ms. Murphy said on Thursday.

She told reporters that negotiators were still going over the immigration provision, a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs and a push led by Northeastern Democrats to raise a $10,000 cap on how much people can deduct in state and local taxes. Late Thursday, a $72,500 deduction cap over 10 years that lawmakers thought had been agreed to was changed to $80,000 over nine years, with an assumed return to $10,000 in the 10th year, which ostensibly raises $14 billion for the bill’s bottom line.

The Joint Committee on Taxation on Thursday released its report estimating that the tax increases in the bill would raise about $1.5 trillion over a decade. But a separate nonpartisan agency, the Congressional Budget Office, had yet to publish a formal analysis of how much the bill would spend or how much revenue would be generated by other proposals, including a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs and beef up the I.R.S.’s ability to collect unpaid taxes.

Source: NYT > U.S. > Politics

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