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Biden enters the complicated and fluid end game for his agenda as scaled back proposal takes shape

Biden changes his tone and walks a delicate line on inflation

President Joe Biden’s decision to lay out the details of a significantly scaled back — and yet still sweeping in scale — roughly $1.9 trillion economic and climate package in a private meeting with nine progressive House Democrats was strategic, intentional and a signal that the talk of wrapping things up isn’t just talk. There is still significant work to be done and the critical holdouts — Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — still have not signed onto the plan, officials say.

But, in the words of one lawmaker who met with Biden and short-handed the conversation: “We’re not in listen and discuss mode anymore. We’re in time to take action mode.”

The bottom line is that Biden and Democratic leaders engineered a clear pivot toward a resolution through a series of meetings and calls over the course of Tuesday. The next several days will be spent in the effort to agree to a framework on the multi-trillion economic and climate package by week’s end. Deadlines have been set and blown by before. But this one may be different. In the words of one official, “We want it to stick, we need it to stick.”



 

What to watch Wednesday

House Democrats will hold a caucus meeting as the push to reach a framework agreement intensifies.

President Joe Biden will travel to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to pitch his proposal to the public.

 

What to watch for later this week

Nothing is locked into place yet and everything remains fluid, but if progress continues to be made, a return visit to the Capitol by Biden is definitely on the table, multiple sources tell AWN.

 

The details

Here’s what Biden laid out in the meetings, according to what multiple sources have passed along, with the caveat that the package remains very much subject to negotiation and that Biden’s topline rundown wasn’t, in the words of one official “a full laundry list” of what will be included.

  • Universal pre-kindergarten
  • Extension of the child tax credit for one year, with the possibility of two depending on how talks shake out (Democrats originally proposed extending it through 2025)
  • Paid leave with a shorter duration of four weeks, triggered at $100,000 (Democrats originally proposed 12 weeks)
  • Childcare and home care are included in the proposal, but at a reduced overall spending level — with home care likely less than $250 billion (Democrats originally proposed $400 billion)
  • Roughly $150-200 billion for housing
  • Tuition-free community college is dropped entirely, though there are funds for scholarships and an expansion of Pell grants proposed
  • Medicare expansion to include vision and hearing, with a possible “pilot” program to explore the expansion of dental
  • Affordable Care Act funding to finance subsidies for three years, at roughly $180 billion
  • Climate remains the most fluid, with an understanding that the long-planned $300 billion in tax credits and incentives is in the proposal and intense negotiations to see what else can be included
  • The Clean Electricity Power Program is out, as AWN has reported. One of, if not the, most important negotiations ahead are how to try and address emissions without CEPP, which fell out due to Manchin’s opposition.
  • State and local tax deduction — this appears extremely fluid at the moment, yet it’s absolutely critical for Democrats to have the votes to move forward, even though most progressives and the White House are in theory opposed to the idea of lifting or revising the cap. It’s clear, due to its cost, it will be more modest than the northeastern Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York — had hoped, but the final scope is still fluid.


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