AP

Democrats say they’ve reached agreement on economic package

Aug 4, 2022, 2:38 PM | Updated: Aug 5, 2022, 12:31 pm

FILE -Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., arrives for a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security Committee...

FILE -Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., arrives for a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security Committee at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a centrist who was seen as the pivotal vote, said in a statement that she had agreed to changes in the measure's tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward” on the bill, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have agreed to eleventh-hour changes to their marquee economic legislation, they announced late Thursday, clearing the major impediment to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s paramount election-year priorities through the chamber in coming days.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a centrist seen as the pivotal vote in the 50-50 chamber, said in a statement that she had agreed to revamping some of the measure’s tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward” on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he believed his party’s energy, environment, health and tax compromise “will receive the support of the entire” Democratic membership of the chamber. His party needs unanimity and Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to move the measure through the Senate over certain solid opposition from Republicans, who say the plan’s tax boosts and spending would worsen inflation and damage the economy.

The announcement came as a surprise, with some expecting talks between Schumer and the mercurial Sinema to drag on for days longer without guarantee of success. Schumer has said he wants the Senate to begin voting on the legislation Saturday, after which it would begin its summer recess. Passage by the House, which Democrats control narrowly, could come when that chamber returns briefly to Washington next week.

Democrats revealed few details of their compromise, and other hurdles remained. Still, final congressional approval would complete an astounding resurrection of Biden’s wide-ranging domestic goals, though in more modest form.

Democratic infighting had embarrassed Biden and forced him to pare down a far larger and more ambitious $3.5 trillion, 10-year version, and then a $2 trillion alternative, leaving the effort all but dead. Instead, Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative maverick Democrat from West Virginia who derailed Biden’s earlier efforts, unexpectedly negotiated the slimmer package two weeks ago.

Its approval would let Democrats appeal to voters by boasting they are moving to reduce inflation — though analysts say that impact would be minor — address climate change and increase U.S. energy security.

“Tonight, we’ve taken another critical step toward reducing inflation and the cost of living for America’s families,” Biden said in a statement.

Sinema said Democrats had agreed to remove a provision raising taxes on “carried interest,” or profits that go to executives of private equity firms. That’s been a proposal she has long opposed, though it is a favorite of Manchin and many progressives.

The carried interest provision was estimated to produce $13 billion for the government over the coming decade, a small portion of the measure’s $739 billion in total revenue.

It will be replaced by a new excise tax on stock buybacks which will bring in more revenue than that, said one Democrat familiar with the agreement. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provided no other detail.

Sinema said she had also agreed to unspecified provisions to “protect advanced manufacturing and boost our clean energy economy.”

She noted that Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough is still reviewing the measure to make sure no provisions must be removed for violating the chamber’s procedures. “Subject to the parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward,” Sinema said.

The measure must adhere to those rules for Democrats to use procedures that will prevent Republicans from mounting filibusters, delays that require 60 votes to halt.

Schumer said the measure retained the bill’s language on prescription drug pricing, climate change, “closing tax loopholes exploited by big corporations and the wealthy” and reducing federal deficits.

He said the bill “addressed a number of important issues” that Democratic senators raised during talks. He said the final measure “will reflect this work and put us one step closer to enacting this historic legislation into law.”

Left unclear was whether changes had been made to the bill’s 15% minimum corporate tax, a provision Sinema has been interested in revising. It would raise an estimated $313 billion, making it the legislation’s largest revenue raiser.

That levy, which would apply to around 150 corporations with income exceeding $1 billion, has been strongly opposed by business, including by groups from Sinema’s Arizona.

The final measure was expected to include assistance that Sinema and other Western senators have been trying to add to help their states cope with epic drought and wildfires that have become commonplace. Those lawmakers have been seeking around $5 billion but it was unclear what the final language would do, said a Democrat following the bargaining who would describe the effort only on condition of anonymity.

The measure will also have to withstand a “vote-a-rama,” a torrent of nonstop amendments expected to last well into the weekend, if not beyond. Republicans want to kill as much of the bill as possible, either with the parliamentarian’s rulings or amendments.

Even if their amendments lose — as is certain for most — Republicans will consider it mission accomplished if they force Democrats to take risky campaign-season votes on touchy issues like taxes, inflation and immigration.

Democratic amendments are expected as well. Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has said he wants to make its health care provisions stronger.

The overall bill would raise $739 billion in revenue. That would come from tax boosts on high earners and some huge corporations, beefed-up IRS tax collections and curbs on drug prices, which would save money for the government and patients.

It would spend much of that on initiatives helping clean energy, fossil fuels and health care, including helping some people buy private health insurance. That would still leave over $300 billion in the measure for deficit reduction.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

1 day ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

3 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

10 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

11 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

12 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Democrats say they’ve reached agreement on economic package