After the Senate and House of Representatives passed a law at the last minute last week that allowed for a postponement of the decision to raise the debt ceiling that threatened a certain paralysis of the administration and made the U.S. insolvent, members of Congress pleaded guilty to passing another $ 3.5 trillion budget package. Social Security, budgeted measures to combat climate change, the expansion of Madquier, tax cuts for the middle and lower classes, and funding for college, among others. Legislated since entering the White House in January this year.
Because Republicans oppose a $ 3.5 trillion proposal, Democrats are trying to pass it through a budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” with Democratic support only. But the narrow majority of the party in both houses, and especially in the Senate, turns the budget transfer into an intra.party political headache.
Unlike the Knesset, it is almost impossible to impose coalition discipline on the Senate. By comparison, the given situation is that every member of Congress is in the power of a “disobedient MK” at any given moment because of the system of representative democracy in the United States. The senators are elected officials of the countries they represent, and they are de facto accountable first and foremost to their constituents (and in fact to their “future” constituencies in the next election). And in the current context of the law the Democrats are trying to pass, two senators – Kirsten Cinema (Arizona) and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) – have repeatedly said in recent days that they will not support the proposal unless it goes down in scope. Although it can be learned from U.S. polls that overall the budget is supported by Democratic Americans as well as a significant portion of Republicans, Manchin and Cinema have good reasons to worry about their political future, which could also throw a balance between Democrats and Republicans in the next election.
For Biden, this is a budget that will define his political future as well as his legacy as president in general. It will determine whether Biden will be president who has passed huge reforms on the scale of Franklin D.’s New Deal. Roosevelt that he tends to mention more than once in his speeches. The prestige of Biden, which has been suffering from a decline in popularity in recent months, is, therefore, at stake.
To fund the plan, rather than run a deficit, Democrats included tax measures in the plan. Thus, corporate tax will rise from 21% to 26% (instead of the 28% originally proposed by Biden) and the highest income tax bracket for Americans earning more than $ 400,000 a year will rise from 37% to 39.6%. The highest tax rate on capital gains will also rise, from 20% to 25%.
The Joint Taxation Committee estimates that the tax changes led by Democrats will bring in more than $ 2 trillion in revenue over 10 years, with revenue of about $ 1 trillion in taxes paid by high.income Americans and nearly $ 1 trillion in corporate and international tax reforms.
Democrats also want to increase tax enforcement by the IRS as a means of financing the package, so the authority is expected to receive another substantial sum of about $ 80 billion. According to forecasts, deepening the collection alone will bring in another $ 700 billion to the state coffers in the next decade.
To understand in more depth why members of Congress oppose the bill, whose budget is intended to be spread over a decade, here are some key details in the bill.
What is controversial in the bill
Cutting prescription drug prices
A key section of the bill is designed to help cut prescription drug prices. On average, Americans pay two or three times more for prescription drugs than people in other countries, according to data released by the White House. Among other things, the legislation will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices – something that is currently prohibited by law.
This section, which is at the heart of many controversies, will expand the benefits of Medicare so that it also covers dual, hearing and vision treatments.
Two years of free tuition at public colleges
The bill includes two years of free college education for all Americans, regardless of the income of their families. The proposal is expected to cost $ 108 billion.
The bill also includes $ 80 billion in funding for Pell Grants – a federal grant program for higher education for low.income students, founded in 1965. Unlike “federal aid,” grant recipients do not have to return them to the state.
Nursing for children and pre.compulsory kindergartens
Every needy family will receive childcare assistance for children from birth to age 5. In total, the bill allocates about $ 450 billion to lower the price of childcare and provides two years of compulsory care for children ages 3 and 4, according to the Education and Employment Committee Of the House of Representatives. The committee estimates that this proposal will keep the price of child care around or below 7% of the income of most families.
Expansion of tax benefits for children
Democrats have expanded the tax benefits on children for 2021 in the $ 1.9 trillion Corona aid program. They are now seeking to extend it until 2025.
Under the extension, families will receive $ 3,600 for each child under the age of 6, and $ 3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 18. Most families will receive monthly payments of $ 250 or $ 300 per child. The condition for the tax benefit is fully extended: people earning up to $ 75,000 a year or married couples earning together up to $ 150,000.
While Biden was proud of the success of the tax benefit in getting children out of the cycle of poverty, Senator Manchin argues that the Democrats’ special spending package should impose requirements on parents regarding the program’s criteria. “You want to help children and parents who actually support these children. There is no job requirement right now, there are no educational requirements for achieving a better skills system,” he told CNN in an interview this month.
Family vacation and paid sick leave
If the law passes, for the first time in its history, the United States will have a total paid vacation, covering 12 weeks of paid family leave and paid sick leave. The White House previously estimated the program would cost $ 225 billion over the next 10 years.
Fighting climate change and slowing the pace of global warming means, first and foremost for Biden, reducing and eliminating the use of fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gas emissions.
There are also measures to encourage the purchase of electric cars and the construction of charging stations; Refunds to homes whose owners will adapt their homes to the use of renewable energy; And monetary penalties to oil and gas producers for methane leaks, among others.
In this section, Manchin, for example, opposes the $ 150 billion “clean electricity plan,” which would fund subsidies for power companies that would increase their renewable energy by at least 4 percent each year. On the other hand, companies that do not reach this destination will be fined. The bill also includes significant funding for forest management and other measures related to forest fires.
Rehabilitation of prisoners and dealing with community violence
Under the bill, $ 5 million a year will be transferred to the Small Business Administration that will fund an entrepreneurship program for former inmates.
The bill will transfer an additional $ 2.5 billion to the Department of Justice to encourage competitive grants or contracts to local governments, community.based organizations and other groups to support intervention strategies to reduce community violence.