- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that Democrats may cut entire pieces of their social safety net and climate bill to cut costs, rather than ease a series of policies.
- The party would have to trim its $3.5 trillion proposal, at the core of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, to win enough votes to pass it.
- This would mean deciding whether to prioritize programs including child care, paid leave, Medicare expansion, household tax credits and green energy.
Democrats could push the entire piece of President Joe Biden’s economic plan through Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday.
Party leaders have acknowledged they will have to cut $1 trillion or more from their $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate proposal. In trying to pass legislation without a modest majority and Republican votes, Democrats will have to appease centrists who have called for a smaller bill.
The dilemma has left lawmakers to decide how to cut costs, either by reducing programs or eliminating some altogether. On Monday night, Pelosi indicated that his party may choose to completely remove some policies from the proposal, while keeping others completely intact.
“For both the Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill to be passed in a timely manner, it is essential that difficult decisions must be made very soon,” he wrote to House Democrats, referring to two planks on Biden’s agenda.
She continued: “Overwhelmingly, the guidance I’m getting from members is to do less things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and address the climate crisis responsibly: jobs and A better build back agenda for the planet, for the kids!”
Pelosi did not specify which parts of the proposal could be cut, although he says climate policy will remain a priority. A decision to cancel any part of the plan could affect the benefits millions of Americans receive from the law for years to come.
The proposal will expand to child care, paid leave and Medicare, as mentioned earlier. It would expand the increased household tax credit, create universal Pre-K and free two years of community college.
It will also encourage the adoption of green energy through tax credits and other incentives, and the creation of climate-resilient buildings and infrastructure.
As Democrats attempt to pass legislation in the coming weeks, any effort to cut costs will come with significant tradeoffs.
The party has had to tread carefully to move forward with both planks of Biden’s agenda. The House had to delay approval of a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate after progressives threatened to vote against it until the Senate took the Democrats’ big plan.
Democrats aim to get their big bill passed through budget reconciliation, which allows the law to get through the Senate with a simple majority. Nevertheless, the party cannot tolerate any defection in the Senate and may only lose three votes in the House.
Sen. Joe Manchin, DWV. Like cutting programs to win over centrists, progressives can risk their support. For example, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has supported Medicare expansion.