Biden unveils spending framework, now he has to sell it to House Democrats
Updated October 28, 2021 at 9:17 AM ET
President Biden will make the case for a $1.75 trillion framework of social and climate spending in a Thursday morning meeting with House Democrats in an attempt to end a weeks-long battle to reach a compromise on the package.
Democrats expect Biden will try to convince members of the House Progressive Caucus to accept the framework as a final deal to clear the way for a separate vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August. Progressive members have insisted they need a full social spending bill and a plan for a vote before they will allow the infrastructure bill to move forward.
Senior Biden administration officials believe the policies they have agreed on can become a bill that passes both the House and the Senate.
The social spending package, which senior administration officials, described as "transformative" would make investments in children and families, efforts to combat climate change, provide affordable health care, and help middle-class families.
It includes major priorities for Democrats including universal pre-k for all 3- and 4-year-olds, an additional year of the expanded monthly Child Tax Credit payment, invests in affordable housing, premium reductions under the Affordable Care Act and significant investments to address climate change. The bill would also create a nation-wide green jobs program known as the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The legislation will be paid for with a series of taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Notably absent from the framework are major party priorities including paid family leave, free community college and measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Many Democrats have blamed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for the failure to reach a deal on paid family leave and free community college.
The framework comes at a critical moment for Biden, who is set to leave Washington Thursday afternoon for a series of meetings in Europe with global leaders on climate change and the world economy. Senior Congressional Democrats say they believe Biden wants at least one of the bills passed ahead of those talks.
The Framework includes:
- Universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, for six years
- Childcare support for about 20 million children for six years — limits costs to no more than 7% of income for families earning up to 250% of state median income, as long as parents are working, seeking work, in training or dealing with a serious health issue
- An extension of the child tax credit and earned income tax credit for one year
- More than $500 billion in spending on climate, including clean energy tax credits for rooftop solar, electric vehicles, clean energy production; a civilian climate corps program; and investments in clean energy technology and manufacturing
- Extending the expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits through 2025
- Covering hearing costs through Medicare for seniors
- $100 billion for reforms to reduce backlogs in the immigration asylum process.
The taxes include:
- A 15% minimum tax for large corporations that report profits of more than $1 billion to shareholders
- A 1% tax on stock buybacks
- A 15% minimum tax on foreign profits of U.S. corporations
- A surtax on the top .02% wealthiest Americans of 5% on income over $10 million, and an additional 3% on income over $25 million
This is a developing story.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.