Analysis: House Democrats are finally about to pass Biden’s massive social spending bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had hoped to finally pass by late Thursday a bill that sparked fierce battles between progressives and moderates during her caucus. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy there are other ideas.

Against the backdrop of history involving the stay-at-home bill causing a stir, California Republicans spent hours in court – trying to push the vote late into the night with a short film-style speech and repeat. He touched on immigration, Afghanistan, his own life story and repeatedly hit Biden over high gas prices and inflation, while interjecting personal attacks on Pelosi when his voice started hoarse. go early in the morning. McCarthy used the privilege of party leaders to speak for an unlimited time. But Democrats, who saw the vote as a “furious fury,” pushed back the vote until Friday morning and many of their members had already left, leaving the Republican leader to continue.

“He wants to do it at midnight. We’ll do it during the day,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said shortly after midnight. A senior aide to House Democrats added: “Leader McCarthy is welcome to keep performing late into the night as he wishes. The House will return and vote on the first Friday morning to the people of the people. America knows we’re entering the Thanksgiving week that House Democrats are fighting for. President Biden to build a better comeback.”

Despite delays and months of bitter fighting, House Democrats appear to have finally got the votes to pass one of the most sweeping reforms to education and health care in decades. century as part of a bill that includes more than $500 billion to fight climate change. Hoyer says he only knows of one Democratic defection – Representative Jared Golden of Maine, who his statement of disapproval Thursday night but don’t rule out voting on the final package in the future. The Democratic majority in the House is so small that Pelosi needs almost every member to support the bill because it is likely to be unanimously opposed by the GOP, which is one reason why getting it to this point has been so difficult. difficult.

The bitterness and sense of turmoil in McCarthy’s speech epitomizes the turmoil that has erupted around the Build Back Better bill for months. In fact, the spectacle of Democrats arguing over its scale obscured much of what was in the package from the public. And while it represents the cornerstone of Biden’s agenda and is intended to ease the economic troubles facing millions of Americans, polls show many voters believe the President is not addressing the issue. the country’s most important issues at a time of rising inflation and high gasoline prices.

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But while he attacked the bill, the Democratic caucus and the President, McCarthy may also have other motives. He is facing increased pressure from allies of former President Donald Trump, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who suggestions on Thursday that Trump will be elected as speaker if the GOP wins the House of Representatives next year. McCarthy did everything to protect the former President from the consequences of the coup attempt and turn his party into a a compliance tool in Trump’s political arsenal. But leading the charge with an hour-long speech that frustrated Democrats would certainly ensure McCarthy’s social media coverage – and possibly praise from the government. Trump.

Uncertain fate in the Senate

The bill, which has at times threatened to split Democrats, has survived a number of extinctions and could still put some lawmakers in jeopardy in the midterm elections if it passes.

Its fate in the Senate remains unclear. Moderate Democracy Senator Joe ManchinIn particular, wary of its costs, there is still uncertainty about the size of many of its programs and the spillover bill’s impact on inflation. The West Virginian reservation, as well as that of Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, will present Biden with a test of his authority and stature as he has pledged to progress that he will eventually have can both get behind the bill and secure its passage. through the Senate. Some progressives who want a much larger package will likely be disappointed. That would be especially true if Manchin demanded further cuts to the legislation at the expense of his support in the Senate, where Democrats cannot afford to lose a single member of their caucus.
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Still, the House’s ability to pass the bill after months of internal Democratic struggle, which at one point also threatened to undermine bipartisan infrastructure plan, representing a real victory for the President, the same week he signed that infrastructure bill into law. It could boost the enthusiasm for his administration among grassroots Democrats that he needs to avert disaster in the November midterm elections. And while it has nearly halved in size to win the support of moderate Democrats, the measure includes many of the programs the party has campaigned for in successive elections. It will provide two years of free pre-K education and widely expand home health care for elderly and infirm Americans. The bill extends a year of child tax credits that supporters say has lifted millions out of poverty, expands Affordable Care Act subsidies, provides Medicare hearing benefits and provides provide tens of billions of dollars in affordable housing.

If it eventually gets through the Senate, where Democratic leaders are aiming for a final vote before the end of the year, the measure would raise Biden’s claim for a seat alongside some Republicans. his party’s most important social reform. This would also be a special achievement for Pelosi, potentially even going far beyond her successful attempt to pass the Affordable Care Act under the Obama administration, and could well be the cornerstone of career for the country’s first female speaker if the Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives next year.

But it remains unclear whether the giant bill will win politically in the short term. While it would validate the core premise of Biden’s case with voters last year that his years on Capitol Hill would help him pass serious, major reform legislation, the bill could did not address the factors that dragged down his presidency. Biden’s approval rating fell after a difficult summer that included a tumultuous retreat from Afghanistan, a wave of Covid-19 infections from the Delta variant after the President said the pandemic was almost over, and inflation. surge and gas prices are left behind. Many voters are disgruntled as the holiday season approaches. It is also possible that Democrats have achieved success by trying to pass large, liberal, albeit not widely mandated, social reform bills in the 2020 election.

Dramatic final hours

McCarthy expressed such concerns in his marathon speech, warning that the measure’s “destructive policies” would affect American workers and families and could help destroy the party. Democracy in the midterm elections.

“It’s going to destroy American industries, it’s going to destroy countless American jobs,” he said, comparing the bill to the passage of Obamacare in 2010, when he said he saw Pelosi. walk the Democrats right down here and pass Obamacare and lose 63 seats.”

The dramatic final hours before the bill was likely to pass underscored the dangerous vote some endangered lawmakers are making to send it to the Senate. Moderate Democrats waited until the Congressional Budget Office released an assessment of the measure’s impact on the deficit before agreeing to pass it. The CBO estimates that the measure will add a net $367 billion to the deficit between 2022 and 2031. However, the White House insists that the money be paid in full. It said it could make up the shortfall because the bill includes funding to better enforce the Internal Revenue Service’s tax collection.

But the CBO score represents a major opportunity for Republicans, who will target vulnerable House members next year with their claims that Democrats are on the verge of “social” spending socialist” will bankrupt future generations — despite the fact that Republicans don’t care much about deficits when Trump is President.

Republican leaders and allied groups seized on the question of the deficit in the hours leading up to the vote scheduled for Thursday night. “Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Ed Case (HI-01), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Kurt Schrader (OR-05) and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) promised voters that For example, if they break their word and vote on this bill, they are betraying their voters,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement.

In another twist, proponents of the bill also had to weather a controversy over a provision that would expand state and local tax deductions that critics – including one of the authors of the bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – has called misguided and bad politics. . Lifting limits on state and local tax deductions has been a priority for members from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey, but progressives say the plan is a gift for the rich. In an unusual reversal from conventional political practice, some conservative Republicans are making the same argument, despite their own 2017 tax bill that limits deductions and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.


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