What’s next in the Senate?
After months of starts and stops, the House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion Social Security and Climate Act on Friday.
The process doesn’t get any easier for the Democrats as the bill goes to the Senate.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer wants to pass the Build Back Better Act by Christmas. To do this, he must get all 50 members of his caucus – from Conservative Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont – to support the same sweeping plan.
Several senators will urge changes to the bill’s provisions, including paid vacation and taxes. All changes require another House vote, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can afford three defectors (only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted against the law on Friday).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C), D-CA, speaks during a press conference with Democratic leaders following the passage of the Build Back Better Act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on November 19, 2021.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
Congress will leave Washington for Thanksgiving week and set up a rush in December to pass the bill before the capital’s attention turns to the 2022 midterm elections. In a statement following Friday’s vote in the House of Representatives, Schumer said the Senate would pick up the package after the Senate MP completes the “necessary technical and procedural work” to ensure it complies with budget reconciliation rules. The special procedure allows the Democrats to approve the plan by a simple majority with no GOP votes.
“We will act as soon as possible to get this bill on President Biden’s desk and help middle-class families,” he said.
Changes are pending in the Senate
The Senate will likely make changes before passing the bill. Manchin, who have not publicly endorsed the package because of concerns about spending and inflation, will seek at least one revision.
He has signaled that he will press for the abolition of a house rule that gives most Americans four weeks of paid vacation.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Is another Democrat who could try to influence the Senate bill. It has already dashed her party’s efforts to raise tax rates for the largest corporations and richest individuals, forcing lawmakers to opt for more complicated policies like a minimum corporate tax.
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Tax policy could become one of the biggest sticking points in the Senate. Sanders and Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J., have opposed a House proposal to raise the cap on state and local tax deductions from $ 10,000 to $ 80,000 by 2030.
The policies – which Pelosi defended – would disproportionately help wealthy Americans under a bill that the Democrats sold as a blessing to working families. It would also cost the Treasury Department revenue.
“You can’t be a political party that talks about asking the rich to pay their fair share of the taxes and then ending up with a bill that gives millionaires huge tax breaks. You can’t do that,” said Sanders, who Senate budget committee chairman said in a statement tweeted Thursday. “The hypocrisy is too strong. It’s bad politics, it’s bad politics.”
In a separate statement on Friday, Sanders cited tax policies, drug prices, Medicare expansions and climate policies when he pledged to “strengthen the Build Back Better Act” in the Senate.
Democrats will likely have to compromise on tax deductions. A handful of House Democrats from high-tax countries like New York and New Jersey made lifting the cap a condition of endorsing the law.
Another tax plan that could crop up in the Senate is a proposal by Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore. To tax billionaires’ fortunes. Golden said Friday that including the Senate finance committee chairman’s levy on billionaires or adjusting the cap on state and local deductions could make him endorse the legislation when it comes back to the house.
With other possible changes, the Senate MP is likely to propose a House proposal to provide limited legal protection for millions of undocumented immigrants.
After the House of Representatives passed its version of the bill on Friday, Pelosi admitted she likely needs to settle differences with the Senate.
“This bill is now going to be put before their committees, and at that point we’ll see where, say, we need to settle our differences. But at the end of the day we’re going to have a great bill, ”she said.
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