(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Congress ramped up its work on President Joe Biden’s economic agenda on Thursday with House committee votes scheduled on core pieces of a planned $3.5 trillion tax-and-social-spending budget bill.
The key House Ways and Means Committee is at the center of Thursday’s action, debating measures including an expansion of Medicare and paid family leave, new funds for elder-care workers and a provision boosting retirement savings. Behind the scenes, panel members will be seeking agreement on other elements, including the tax hikes to be unveiled in coming days.
In the Senate, meantime, Democratic lawmakers have to hammer out a deal on the overall cost of the legislation. Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders paints the current price tag as a compromise relative to his initial $6 trillion, while moderates led by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin want a bill notably smaller than $3.5 trillion. Republicans have vowed to oppose the bill, requiring unity in the Democratic caucus.
Key Stories and Developments:
Democratic lawmakers remained divided over scope of key billHouse Ways and Means panel releases draft text for Medicare, family-leave, retirement and other provisionsEducation and Labor Committee announces its proposals for education and workforce training
All times are U.S. Eastern Time:
SALT Cap Continues to Vex House Democrats (11:08 a.m.)
Ways and Means Democrats remain divided on the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction and whether it should be fully repealed.
Representative Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, said lawmakers were still working on it. “I feel good about it, though,” he added.
The cap was part of the 2017 tax law and many Democratic lawmakers from high-tax places such as New York and New Jersey say it unfairly targets their states. Some progressive Democrats are wary of a full repeal because it would disproportionately benefit the wealthy. — Kaustuv Basu
Yellen Pleased With Congressional Progress on Global Tax Rules (11:03 a.m.)
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is urging the swift implementation of a global agreement on tax rules for multinational corporations.
Yellen said she was “pleased with the progress the U.S. Congress is making to strengthen the U.S. international tax rules,” a reference to steps being taken by Democrats to include measures enforcing a global minimum tax in the reconciliation legislation. She made no specific mention of a potentially thornier component allowing countries to tax big companies’ profits based on where revenue is sourced.
That will require either a formal treaty or legislation that overrides existing bilateral tax treaties, and its passage by the U.S. Senate, where lawmakers from both parties have expressed reservations, is far from certain. — Christopher Condon
Top Republican Says Biden Agenda Will Cost Jobs (10:29 a.m.)
The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee blasted majority Democrats for their work on the $3.5 trillion bill, arguing that tax increases in the plan will cost as many as 4 million U.S. jobs.
“The one thing you can absolutely count on is higher prices and our economy will only get worse if Democrats succeed in ramming through trillions of dollars in higher spending and tax hikes,” Texas Representative Kevin Brady said at the outset of Thursday’s legislative markup, which is expected to extend into next week.
Brady argued that plans to increase corporate rates by reversing the 2017 Trump tax cuts would give companies incentives to move jobs overseas. “The casualties of applying the highest tax burden in the world are American jobs,” he said. — Erik Wasson
Key House Panel Expects Tax Plan This Weekend (10:04 a.m.)
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said his panel will “probably” release its much-anticipated tax plan to pay for Biden’s economic agenda at some point this weekend.
Neal also said he expects his committee to extend the expanded child tax credit for an additional four or five years.
The Massachusetts Democrat has gaveled in the committee’s markup of its portion of the $3.5 trillion budget bill. The panel is expected to vote on a number of measures on Thursday and Friday, ranging from an expansion of paid family leave to increased funding for elder-care workers. Key tax provisions will be debated next week.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make transformative change,” Neal said in his opening statement. “This is our moment of opportunity.” — Erik Wasson
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