White House seeks to reverse debate over agenda price
White House officials are trying to reduce the focus on the price of President BidenJoe Biden Progressives hit back after moderates targeted Pelosi John Kerry expresses optimism about the upcoming climate summit. Biden’s Justice Red Queen: How he destroyed both the investigation and the reputation of border officers MOREoff the economic agenda as they seek to persuade moderate senators to join us.
The administration argues that the Democratic-only reconciliation bill will cost essentially nothing as legislation, which could reach $ 3.5 trillion but is constantly evolving, will be offset by tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. Americans.
Democrats believe the argument will have the double effect of allaying moderates’ concerns about the size and cost of the package while pushing back against the Republican narrative that Biden is overseeing a “taxes and spending” program. But efforts to convince centrist lawmakers about the cost component have so far been unsuccessful, despite Biden’s direct intervention.
Still, prominent outside groups aligned with the moderates say the White House’s argument has merit.
“Presumably, when the invoice is complete, the offsets will equal the new expenses and the net cost will be zero. And for those who are worried about deficits, debt and the size of government, which represents a lot of Democrats, that would answer that, “said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the centrist think tank. Third Way Democrat.
“I think that’s both correct and that there is an aspect of public relations that has the advantage of being true,” Kessler said.
On Thursday afternoon, hours before House Democrats delayed voting on the Senate infrastructure bill, Biden and other administration officials tweeted that the former President TrumpDonald Trump’s Red Queen Justice Biden: How He Destroyed Both Investigation and Border Officer Reputation Trump Asks Judge To Force Twitter To Lift Ban Trump Teases Schumer About Occasional Ocasio Challenge Cortez MOREThe 2017 tax cuts increased the national debt by $ 1.9 trillion, while Biden’s Build Back Better program would not increase debt by a cent.
“Here’s the deal: Unlike my predecessor’s tax plan, every penny of my Build Back Better program gets paid,” Biden tweeted.
White House press secretary Jen psakiJen PsakiBiden visits Capitol with agenda in the balance The Hill 12:30 p.m. report – Brought to you by Facebook – Democrats push infrastructure vote on another day amid internal strife Watch Live: White House Jen Psaki briefs MORE said last week that the progressive-favored bill would not increase the national debt, but she admitted it would cost businesses and wealthy Americans because of the tax increases Biden offered to pay for the package.
“Many high-income people pay lower tax rates than nurses and teachers. Nobody thinks it’s fair, ”Psaki said during a White House briefing. “Yes, we ask them to pay more.”
The national debt had reached about $ 28.5 trillion just before the federal debt limit was reimposed on August 1. Although debt has swelled for several decades, Republicans have pledged to block any increase or suspension of the debt ceiling while Democrats continue to spend billions of dollars. invoice.
GOP lawmakers dot Treasury secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise Yellen Alabama clears COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Democrats still at odds on Biden agenda Debt fight reignites Democrats’ obstruction with concerns about the fiscal impact of Biden’s program in two appearances before congressional committees last week.
“In the face of soaring inflation, slower growth, persistently high unemployment, and historic levels of government spending and public debt, how do you justify supporting the president’s $ 3.5 trillion in taxes and spending?” Biden? »Senator Tim scottTimothy (Tim) Eugene Scott More than half of police murders go unreported, study finds Newsom signs police reform bill to increase accountability “Only the rich can play” documents how program Republican to help the poor did not MORE (RS.C.) asked Yellen during his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee.
Republicans argued that with the national debt held by the public now at 105% of gross domestic product (GDP), Biden had put the country on the path to financial ruin.
Yellen has insisted in recent days that Biden’s sprawling spending plan will not only be deficit neutral, but also reduce future deficits by increasing the long-term productivity of the United States.
“The Biden administration’s proposals are neutral on the debt trajectory. The projections we have presented essentially show a leveled debt trajectory over the next 10 years, and beyond 15 years dramatically reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio, ”Yellen told the House financial services committee on Thursday. .
Republicans, however, questioned how certain the administration could be about the bill’s budgetary impact without a formal score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislature’s non-partisan budget analyst.
Leader of the minority in the Senate Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Biden sees independent support drop The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Alibaba – Democrats still at odds over Biden House agenda send bill to Biden to avoid government shutdown at midnight MORE (R-Ky.) And the first Republican Senator on the Senate Budget Committee. Lindsey grahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Vote or Not? Pelosi faces infrastructure move Congress may celebrate Forbidden Book Week by leading free expression Trump-backed challenger to Cheney decried him as “racist”, “xenophobic” in 2016: MORE report (SC) asked the CBO Friday to calculate the debt impact of Biden’s program based on a snapshot of spending levels included in the Democratic budget resolution.
Budget watchdogs are also urging Democrats to suspend voting until the CBO is able to score the final package.
“At this time, we don’t know if the current reconciliation plan would cost $ 3.5 trillion, $ 4 trillion, or $ 5,000 billion, and we don’t know whether it is deficit neutral or if it’s a huge budget break, ”said Maya MacGuineas. , President and CEO of the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, Pro-Budget Discipline, Think Through a statement of September 27.
“You wouldn’t buy a new home without knowing its price; why would you vote for transformative legislation without knowing the cost? MacGuineas said.
The White House argument has so far failed to stir Moderate Sens. Joe manchinJoe Manchin Senate Democrats reduce tension Manchin Progressives cheer and moderates moan as Biden visits chaotic week The memo: Progressives exult in new power MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten Sinema Progressives applaud, moderates moan as Biden visit ends chaotic week (D-Ariz.) To support a package of up to $ 3.5 trillion. Manchin revealed Thursday that he was ready to back a $ 1.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which is still a long way from what Biden and other Democrats have called for.
Manchin also signaled that he would not support increasing the corporate tax rate beyond 25 percent – a key source of revenue for the bill. Sinema revealed little of his specific concerns, but shared them privately with the Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump teases Schumer over occasional Ocasio-Cortez challenge Biden sees independent support abandoning Democrats remaking America with taxpayer money MORE (DN.Y.) in August, a spokesperson said Thursday.
Overall, Democrats have recognized that the $ 3.5 trillion price tag will be cut – and the drop could be significant. The White House has so far not publicly announced a lower number that Biden would be comfortable with.
“We’ve been stuck for a long time on this $ 3.5 trillion figure that everyone and their cousin know is not the final number. So there comes a time when you have to start talking about different numbers, ”Kessler said.
Biden traveled to Capitol Hill on Friday afternoon to meet privately with House Democrats and advocate for his platform and a compromise.
Progressive lawmakers argue that the focus on reducing the bill’s fiscal impact overlooks the scale of the issues the bill addresses and overestimates the political importance of debt reduction.
A total of 42% of likely voters said the biggest problem the United States faces is either the economy in general or the job market in particular, according to a June poll by the Progressive Research Company Data for Progress, while only 13% reported national debt.
Only 4% of Democrats and 14% of Independents cited national debt as their top concern, and even GOP voters were more likely to cite the economy (26%) than national debt (24%) as the biggest problem facing the United States.
The share of Americans who are very worried about the national debt in non-partisan Gallup polls has also fallen from 64% in March 2011 to 49% this year.
“At the end of the day, we’re focusing on the laser to try and make sure we’re establishing a free, universal pre-K community college, expanding Medicare. This is what we want to offer people and this is what we are fighting for, ”said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez Progressives hit back after moderates targeted Pelosi Trump teases Schumer about occasional Ocasio-Cortez challenge Are the rich really not paying their fair share of taxes? FOLLOWING (DN.Y.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.