Biden Meets With Manchin and Schumer to Iron Out Spending Bill
Democrats are also increasingly eager to deliver the bipartisan legislation to Mr. Biden’s desk before elections for governor in Virginia and New Jersey on Nov. 2, to show voters the party is making good on its promise to deliver sweeping social change. And a number of transportation programs will lapse at the end of the month without congressional action on either a stopgap extension or passage of the infrastructure bill, leading to possible furloughs.
The legislation is expected to include a one-year extension of payments to most families with children, first approved as part of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, as well as an increase in funds for Pell grants, support for home and elder care, and billions of dollars for affordable housing. It would also provide tax incentives to encourage use of wind, solar and other clean energy.
While aides cautioned that details were in flux, the plan is also expected to address a cap on how much taxpayers can deduct in state and local taxes, a key priority for Mr. Schumer and other lawmakers who represent higher-income residents of high-tax states affected by the limit.
But negotiators on Sunday were still haggling over a number of outstanding pieces, including the details of a federal paid and medical leave program — already cut to four weeks from 12 weeks — Medicaid expansion and a push to expand Medicare benefits to include dental, vision and hearing. With Mr. Manchin pushing for a $1.5 trillion price tag, Democratic officials are urging for him to accept more spending in order to avoid dropping other programs.
Where the Budget Bill Stands in Congress
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A framework has yet to emerge. No final decisions have been made on the plan — which is expected to include education, child care, paid leave, anti-poverty and climate change programs — and negotiations are continuing. But even with a scaled-back version, passage of the bill is no guarantee.
Mr. Biden raised the prospect of an $800 voucher to help grant access to those benefits, but he said during a CNN town hall event on Thursday that he believed Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema both had reservations about the program. Talks are also continuing with moderate Democrats in both chambers over a proposal that would help lower the cost of prescription drugs.
While Ms. Sinema has refused to embrace increasing either the corporate or individual tax rates, she has privately committed to enough proposals that would fully fund up to $2 trillion in spending. The details of those specific proposals, however, remain unclear.
Ms. Sinema and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, have spoken repeatedly about a number of alternatives that would ensure that corporations and wealthy people pay more in taxes without addressing those rates, according to an aide, some of which Ms. Warren had initially proposed earlier this year.
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