Updated: 3 hours ago Published: 3 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have reached agreement on changes to their flagship economic legislation, they announced late Thursday, removing the biggest roadblock to advancing one of President Joe Biden’s top election-year priorities. across the room in the next few days.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, a centrist seen as the pivotal vote, said in a statement that she agreed to changes to the measure’s tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward.” on the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said lawmakers reached a compromise “which I believe will receive support” from all Democrats in the house. His party needs unanimity to pass the measure in the Senate 50-50, as well as the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Schumer said he hopes the Senate can start voting on the energy, environment, health and tax measure on Saturday. House passage, which Democrats narrowly control, could happen next week.
Congressional final approval of the election-year measure would complete a stunning eleventh-hour salute to Biden’s far-reaching national goals, albeit in more modest form. Democratic infighting had embarrassed Biden and forced him to cut a much larger and more ambitious $3.5 trillion 10-year version and then a $2 trillion alternative, leaving the effort all but dead.
That bill, brokered by Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative nonconformist Democrat from West Virginia, would bring in $739 billion in revenue. That would come from tax increases on high earners and some large corporations, stronger IRS tax collections, and lower drug prices, which would save money for government and patients.
He would spend much of it on energy, climate and health care initiatives, leaving over $300 billion more for deficit reduction.
Sinema said Democrats agreed to scrap a provision increasing taxes on “carried interest,” or profits that accrue to private equity firm executives. It’s a proposal she has long opposed, despite being a favorite of Manchin and many progressives.
The deferred interest provision is estimated to generate $13 billion for the government over the next decade, a small portion of the measure’s $739 billion in total revenue.
It will be replaced by a new excise tax on share buybacks that will yield more than that, said a Democrat familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss publicly of the agreement. The official did not provide any further details.
Although she didn’t provide any details, Sinema said she also agreed to provisions to “protect advanced manufacturing and boost our clean energy economy.”
She noted that Senate Congresswoman Elizabeth MacDonough is still reviewing the measure to ensure that no provision should be deleted for violating chamber procedures. “Subject to parliamentary review, I will move forward,” Sinema said.
Schumer said the measure retained language from the bill on prescription drug pricing, climate change, “closing tax loopholes exploited by big business and the wealthy” and cutting federal deficits.
He said that in discussions with his fellow Democrats, the party “addressed a number of important issues that they raised.” He added that the final measure “will reflect this work and bring us closer to the enactment of this landmark legislation.”