Dems consider changes to economic bill, weekend votes ahead

Congressional Budget (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Congressional Budget (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Democrats on Thursday considered revamping proposed taxes on large and wealthy corporations, and possibly adding billions to the West’s historic drought, as lawmakers target initial votes on Saturday on the party’s economic legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., announced his schedule on Thursday as party leaders worked behind the scenes in hopes of gaining the unanimity needed to succeed.

The election year bill, which houses the top priorities of President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats, would provide hundreds of billions in spending and tax credits to spur clean energy, bolster fossil fuels and renew government support for the people. who buy private health insurance. It would increase revenue from tax increases, increase IRS tax collection, and reduce drug prices, which would save money for the government and patients.

“We prioritize middle class and working families over those at the top. God bless them, they are doing well,” Schumer said.

Democrats need to get the support of all their lawmakers to prevail in the Senate 50-50 and avoid a self-inflicted glaring defeat similar to what they suffered last November in a much larger version of the package. Republicans are on track to oppose the legislation as one, saying its tax and spending increases would worsen inflation and hurt the economy.

“What do Democrats want to do with all the money they want to drain from Americans’ pockets in the midst of a recession?” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “They want to squander hundreds of billions of dollars on an issue that exactly 3% of the country says is our biggest problem: far-left environmental and climate spending.”

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a fickle centrist, has not made her position clear and is considered her party’s only potential resistance.

She is part of a group of Western senators looking to add about $5 billion to legislation – billed as Congress’s biggest climate change measure – to help their states deal with epic droughts and wildfires. The effort was described by a Democrat familiar with the negotiations who would speak only on condition of anonymity.

Sinema also expressed interest in reforming the measure’s 15% minimum tax for some companies with incomes greater than $1 billion, said another Democrat who was not authorized to publicly describe the senator’s view. They did not provide any details. The proposed tax would raise about $313 billion over a decade, the legislation’s biggest revenue increase.

In support of this proposal, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released figures showing that between 100 and 125 companies that reported average income of $8.9 billion paid effective tax rates averaging 1.1%. The figures were compiled by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation of Congress.

Sinema has criticized another proposal to raise taxes on hedge fund executives and other private equity firms. It would raise $13 billion, a small part of the bill, and is a favorite of progressives and Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., a conservative Democrat who helped draft general legislation with Schumer.

The Senate will not be in session on Friday as Democrats continue their negotiations. That pause will also give Senate lawmaker Elizabeth MacDonough time to decide whether any of the bill’s provisions violate House rules and should be removed.

Republicans want to kill off as much of the bill as possible, either with MacDonough’s decisions or with uninterrupted votes that are expected to last until Sunday or longer.

Even if the GOP amendments are defeated, they will consider it mission accomplished if they force Democrats to risk campaign season votes on sensitive issues like taxes, inflation and immigration.

Vice President Kamala Harris can vote to break a 50-50 tie and pass the bill.

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