Top Senators to Watch on Democrats’ Social Spending Bill
All eyes will be on the Senate after the Thanksgiving recess, as Democrats in the House seek to pass a massive social spending and climate agenda that is a key part of President BidenJoe BidenGOP plans to kick Democrats out of seats if House rocks Five House members meet with Taiwanese president over Chinese objections. supply chain problems and inflation persist MOREthe economic agenda of.
The House passed a version of the package shortly before Thanksgiving, and the Senate is expected to pass the legislation after the holidays. Lawmakers hope to get a bill off Biden’s desk by the end of the year.
But Senate Democrats face challenges in passing the measure. They will have to make changes to the House bill to accommodate the priorities of moderates and progressives. They may also need to make changes to the bill in order to conform to the rules of the budget reconciliation process, which Democrats use to prevent Republican obstruction.
Additionally, Senate Democrats will have to resist criticism from Republicans seeking to overthrow the bill.
Democrats have no room for error. In order for the bill to pass the Senate, every member of the Democratic caucus will need to vote for it, and Vice President Harris will need to cast a deciding vote.
Here are five key senators to watch in the debate on the social spending bill.
Majority leader in the Senate Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer Mourns Death of ‘Extraordinary’ Father Feehery: Honest Biden Administration to Release Oil from Strategic Reserve: MORE reports (DN.A.)
As majority leader, Schumer is responsible for leading the House Social Spending Bill and keeping his caucus together.
Democrats have held meetings with the Senate parliamentarian to discuss whether various provisions comply with budget reconciliation rules. Schumer said he intends the Senate to pass the legislation once this work is done.
“As soon as the necessary technical and procedural work with the parliamentarian of the Senate is completed, the Senate will deal with this legislation,” Schumer said in a statement after the passage of the chamber. “We will act as quickly as possible to get this bill to President Biden’s office and help middle-class families.”
Schumer will have to skillfully navigate the competing desires of the progressives and moderates in his caucus. He will also have to juggle the spending bill with other items on the legislative agenda, such as the annual defense policy bill, legislation to prevent a government shutdown, and legislation to to raise the debt ceiling.
Senator Joe manchinJoe Manchin Biden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell’s choice. Five ways the Senate could change Biden’s spending plan. (DW.Va.)
Manchin, a prominent centrist, has been a key player in negotiations over the legislation and has previously signaled that he is concerned about parts of the House bill.
The House bill provided for four weeks of paid family leave despite Manchin’s voicing resistance to including this item in the spending program. This provision could end up being removed or changed in the Senate in order to get Manchin to adhere to the legislation.
In addition, Manchin could ask for changes to some of the climatic provisions of the package. He opposed a provision that would give additional tax breaks for electric vehicles made by unionized American workers.
Manchin can also influence when the Senate adopts a social spending program.
The West Virginia Democrat recently told reporters he was unsure if he would help start debate on the bill. Such a vote is unlikely to happen unless Manchin says he will support it, as every Democrat’s vote will be needed for him to be successful.
Senator Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten Sinema Pragmatic bipartisanship – not left-wing intolerance – is Democrats’ surest path back to power With extreme gerrymanders locking themselves in, Biden must make preserving democracy a job five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season PLUS (D-Arizona)
Like Manchin, Sinema is a moderate whose vote will be needed to secure the bill’s passage in the Senate.
Sinema has already played a key role in the development of the packaging. The House bill does not include an increase in personal and corporate tax rates due to Sinema’s objections to these ideas. The Arizona Democrat also helped craft the reduced prescription drug provision in the House bill.
But Sinema has yet to approve the spending program and could still seek further changes to the measure.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Sinema pointed out that there are differences between the House bill and a White House framework for the spending program released in late October. However, she did not provide details on what changes she wanted to make to the House bill.
“So this is not the deal that the president put in his framework several weeks ago,” Sinema told the Post. âWhile I’m not going to comment on what’s going on in the House right now, I can just refer you to the comments I made when the President released his framework. â¦ I look forward to working with him to make it happen.
Senator Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Five ways the Senate could change Biden’s spending plan Poll: Harris and Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn’t lead ex-spokesperson for Bernie Sanders fearing the effectiveness of SALT PLUS deductions (I-Vermont)
Sanders, a prominent progressive and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said after the bill was passed in the House that he wanted the Senate to “tighten up” the measure in areas such as tax increases on the rich, prescription drugs, health insurance expansion and the climate.
“The Senate has the opportunity to make this truly historic legislation,” Sanders said in a statement. âWe will listen to the demands of the American people and strengthen the Build Back Better Act. ”
The House bill would create a Medicare hearing benefit, and Sanders wants the package to include Medicare dental and vision benefits as well. However, Sanders could face an uphill battle to get this priority as far due to the cost of vision establishment and dental benefits.
Sanders also works with Sen. Bob menendezRobert (Bob) Menendez Five Ways Senate Could Change Biden’s Spending Plan Spending Bill Faces Senate Rush Republicans Worried About Biden’s Candidate For Ambassador To Germany MORE (DN.J.) on an alternative available to the House on National and Local Tax Deduction (SALT).
The House bill would increase the deduction limit from $ 10,000 to $ 80,000, but Sanders criticized the provision as being too beneficial for the wealthy. Instead, Sanders and Menendez develop a proposal whereby the full deduction would be restored for households earning less than an amount between $ 400,000 and $ 550,000, and a cap of $ 10,000 would not apply. than to households above this level.
Leader of the minority in the Senate Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Republicans look set to win midterms – unless they fight, Graham emerges as the go-to ally in Biden’s legal picks Five Reasons Biden GOP To Be Grateful This Season MORE (R-Ky.)
McConnell will play a leading role in Republicans’ efforts to attack the spending bill.
Republicans are uniformly expected to oppose the bill, arguing that the measure amounts to unnecessary spending. McConnell and other GOP lawmakers are pressuring Democrats to drop their plans to pass the bill, and in particular seek to pressure centrists such as Manchin and Sinema.
“Now only a few Democrats in the Senate can protect American families from these drastic and painful policies,” McConnell said in a statement after the House vote. “It’s up to them to kill this bill.”
McConnell is also expected to play a role in Republicans’ strategy when it comes to forcing Democrats to vote harshly on spending program amendments. While several GOP senators are expected to be involved in the effort, McConnell is ultimately responsible.
As part of the budget reconciliation process Democrats are using to pass the bill, Republicans will be able to vote on an unlimited number of amendments in a process known as the vote-a-rama. Republicans hope they can get centrist Democrats to support some of their amendments, or at least use some of the amendment votes against Democrats in the 2022 midterm election.