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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Democrats agree with their loner Sen. Manchin to unlock Biden’s economic plan

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Joe Manchin, Democratic Senator from West Virginia, on Capitol Hill last week.J Scott Applewhite (AP)

The Democratic Party, hand-in-hand with its Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has reached an agreement with its conflicting chief senator, the moderate Joe Manchin III (West Virginia), to release a slurred version of the Star Plan spending by President Joe Biden . Schumer and Manchin on Wednesday agreed a package of laws that, after months of back-and-forth, finally seemed doomed to fail, including tax reforms that will hit multinationals and the highest earners, measures to tackle climate change and boost energy security, reductions in prescription drugs drugs and deficit reduction.

It is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate next week, just before the August adjournment of Congressional sessions on Capitol Hill. If it continues — and all the signs are, because Democrats have the votes, fair but enough — it will come as a relief to Biden, whose economic agenda is deadlocked and his acceptance rate is at rock-bottom.

The so-called Inflation Reduction Act is neither Biden’s famous Build Back Better Plan, which promised spending worth $3.5 trillion (later reduced to just under $2 billion), nor does it look anything like it. But that deal, which includes $369 billion in energy payments and $64 billion in the healthcare chapter, is intended to end months of bitter internal debate within the party, at least in time for the November general election. They have the entire Senate and a third of the House of Representatives at stake, and the Liberals have Biden in the White House on the losing side after a year and a half, who is shooting his citizens through the roof with runaway inflation Insecurity issues and a bloody ongoing culture war can only be disappointing be designated. That plan is at least something he can present to his constituents.

“Better rebuild [que fue un eslogan clave durante la campaña presidencial de 2020] he is dead,” Manchin said bluntly in a lengthy statement released this afternoon, in which he did not elaborate on the details of the agreement; “Instead, we have an opportunity to strengthen our country by bringing Americans together.” The plan promises to cut the deficit of around $300,000 million and reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

Biden, who ended his confinement from the coronavirus he contracted last week with a no-questions-asked speech in the White House Rose Garden this morning, has issued a statement congratulating himself on “historic” legislation: “With this With this deal, we have the opportunity to make prescription drugs cheaper (…) and reduce health insurance costs for 13 million citizens.” “This is what the American people have been waiting for. It addresses the problems of today (high health care costs and general inflation) as well as investing in our energy security for the future.”

Manchin is a senator from West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state heavily dependent on coal, where he has won consecutive centrist elections. Defending those energy interests and their constituents’ jobs has clashed with the aspirations of Biden’s green agenda. But it’s not just about standing up for yourself: Manchin is reported to be the Senator who has received the most donations from the oil, coal and gas sector Data Collected by OpenSecrets, a watchdog organization that oversees the balance between economic and legislative power. His opposition to the president’s plans was also based on concerns about the spending’s impact on inflation, which stands at 9.1%, a record not seen in more than four decades.

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It’s not clear what made him change his mind. Weeks ago he said he would not support the plan until he saw new economic data. In his statement, Manchin does not explain what these dates are and how they convinced him.

The text says: “Instead of risking further inflation with trillions [de dólares] In terms of new spending, this bill will lower the inflationary taxes Americans pay, reduce health insurance and prescription drug costs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to deliver through innovation and not to remain a global superpower through elimination.

Manchin has become one of the most influential senators in Washington by reining in the Democratic Party’s shift to the left that Biden promised when he took office. He called for cuts to unemployment benefits in the stimulus plan touted in the government’s early days, struck down the appointment of Budget Director Neera Tandem and voted in 2018 amid allegations of sexual abuse for the controversial appointment by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one of the three justices Donald Trump smuggled into the Supreme Court until he left it as the most conservative in eight decades.

The Senate is split down the middle, with 50 seats on either side of the party line. Democrats have the casting vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. A measure like the one passed on Wednesday will be approved through a legislative procedure called a budget vote, which requires just a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes needed for sweeping reforms because of filibusterism. No Democrat can miss Election Day, and that makes things even more exciting in times of the umpteenth Covid wave with the infections caused in the USA by the subvariant BA.5.

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