Paid leave, immigration, tax changes added to Biden bill

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House Democrats have added paid family and medical leave, immigration law changes, and a state-and-local tax break to their $1.75 trillion social services and environment bill.

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The House Rules Committee convened on Wednesday afternoon to consider the updated text of the 2,135-page package – a key step ahead of preliminary House votes that are expected as early as Thursday.

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A flurry of last-minute additions — on top of plans to include lower Medicare prescription drug prices — have Democrats desperate to give Biden’s signature on domestic proposals after dire election results overnight in Virginia, where voters voted a Republican. The political newcomer chose Glenn Youngkin, veteran Democrat Terry McAuliffe, for governor. It was a warning to Democrats that their grip on power could be in jeopardy in the midterms of next year.

Most Virginia voters said the talks in Washington on Biden’s governing agenda were a key factor in their vote, so blame was drifting on Capitol Hill as Democrats have spent months debating the details of the package.

“We have to produce,” Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told reporters at the Capitol. “We have to get results for the people.”

Democrats are now racing to iron out their differences, especially with censor Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona.

Munchkin had previously opposed the provision of family leave, which is expected to provide four weeks of paid time off for childbirth, recovering from a major illness or caring for family members, according to three people familiar with the law, who have Anonymity was requested to discuss the matter.

Biden reluctantly dropped a scaled-back paid leave offer from last week’s White House structure after Munchkin balked at the price. But Democrats who have lobbied for a paid leave program as a Democratic priority for decades continued to push it, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that it would be part of a larger House package.

Richard Neill, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement, “This is a policy that will ultimately give workers and their families the peace of mind knowing that when disaster strikes, they rely on paid leave to avoid total distress.” can do.” He added that this is to be paid entirely with the revenue offset elsewhere.

On another remaining issue, Democrats partially settled on a plan to eliminate the $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions that particularly affect New York, California and other high-tax states, and Trump -Era was enacted as part of the 2017 tax. Plan.

While repealing the so-called SALT deduction cap is a priority for many northeastern state lawmakers, progressives wanted to block the super-rich from benefits. Under the plan, the $10,000 deduction cap would be increased to $72,500 for 10 years, beginning with the $10,000 tax year.

And a recently added immigration provision would create a new program for some 7 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status, allowing them to apply for a permit to work and travel in the US for five years. Permission is granted, another person requested anonymity. to discuss the details. It will also allow the government to allow people to tap unused visas to enter the US

Resolving the immigration issue was one of the last daunting challenges to complete the draft of Biden’s package. Biden had set aside $100 billion to fund immigration changes, which, if accepted by the Senate, could increase the total package from $1.75 trillion to $1.85 trillion. After the proposal’s costs are officially tallied, lawmakers plan to make their case for changes to immigration law for Senate lawmakers in the coming days.

Paid family leave and changes to immigration law have both drawn resistance from Munchkin, the support that is significant in the 50-50 Senate, where Biden has no vote. The overall bill is facing united opposition from Republicans.

Pelosi acknowledged opposition to the House approach from a single senator in a letter to aides on Wednesday that referred to Munchkin. But Pelosi’s strategy now seems intent on passing the strongest bill in his chamber and then excluding Munchkin, Cinema or others, to accommodate or isolate the parts he would not agree to in the Senate.

“We must strive to find common ground in the law,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.

Manchin wants Democrats to take more time to negotiate, and banned the paid-leave announcement, suggesting it could be taken apart from Biden’s package or “bilaterally.”

The $1.75 trillion package will provide assistance to a large number of Americans with access to health care, education, raising children and caring for the elderly in their homes. It would provide some $555 billion in tax breaks encouraging clean energy and electrified vehicles, the nation’s biggest commitment to combat climate change.

Most of its costs will be covered with higher taxes on people and large corporations earning more than $10 million a year, which will now face a 15% minimum tax in an effort to prevent large businesses from claiming such deductions that they Pay zero in taxes.

“It is not easy to pass such transformational legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday while opening the chamber. But he added, “It will be worth it.”

Still, the final details of Biden’s big offer are shaping up to be.

With Wednesday’s addition of paid family leave, immigration and local tax deduction programs, Democrats on Tuesday called for reducing prescription drug costs for most older people, lowering out-of-pocket Medicare costs by $2,000. And struck a deal to reduce the price of insulin.

For the first time, Medicare will be able to negotiate the prices of drugs in its Part B and Part D programs. Democrats said the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs would benefit older Americans with Part D prescription drug benefits, who number about 48 million.

Schumer said the new monthly limit on the price of insulin would reduce the price to no more than $35 per dose, and would have a “‘inflation’ discounting policy to protect consumers from huge annual increases in prices.”

AARP, the powerful organization for older Americans, signaled support as it awaits details.

But Stephen J., president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Ubal said the proposal “gives the government the power to decide how much the drug costs.”

Some moderate Democrats in the House said they would like to see a final evaluation from the Congressional Budget Office on the budgetary cost of the overall Biden package before taking the vote.

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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