President Biden declared during the campaign that he would repeal the Trump tax cuts on “day one,” but after more than a month in office, some key Democratic lawmakers say they are reluctant to raise taxes during an economic slowdown, The Hill reports.
“Senate Democrats are readying to pass President Biden’s infrastructure package through the budget reconciliation process, a recognition they’re unlikely to get much Republican support for a potential $2 trillion package,” Axios reports.
“Sen. Bernie Sanders told Axios on Tuesday he’s consulted with the White House about how to prepare for the next round of spending, and he’s ready to do it immediately via reconciliation — a process he controls as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.”
“House Democratic leaders are quietly mounting a campaign for Shalanda Young, a longtime congressional aide, to replace Neera Tanden as nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Axios reports.
“The nascent campaign for Young, who would be OMB’s first Black female leader, reflects a stark reality taking hold in the Democratic Party: Tanden’s prospects are rapidly fading.”
If Neera Tanden withdraws from consideration to be President Joe Biden’s budget director, the American Prospect reports that Gene Sperling — who served as head of the National Economic Council for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — could take her place.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he opposes Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget, saying her past comments are too toxic, CNN reports.
Said Manchin: “I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.”
This could imperil her nomination unless a Republican steps forward to save her in the 50-50 Senate.
Vox has a fantastic summary of the major aspects of the Covid relief bill that Congressional Democrats are hoping to pass through budget reconciliation in March.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) told Politico that she does not support using the Covid-19 relief bill to increase the federal minimum wage.
Said Sinema: “What’s important is whether or not it’s directly related to short-term Covid relief. And if it’s not, then I am not going to support it in this legislation. The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process. It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there.”
New York Times: “As top Democrats continued to push a $1.9 trillion economic aid package through the House, some lawmakers and aides to President Biden raised the prospect of borrowing even more money to finance the president’s next set of spending plans, on infrastructure, buoyed by new projections that showed the nation’s fiscal picture was not as dire as officials feared in the fall.”
A key line on the administration’s thinking on infrastructure: “Mr. Biden proposed tax increases to pay for those plans during the campaign, but in recent days, some of his economic aides have hinted privately that some or all of the infrastructure package could be deficit financed.”
“The federal government’s total debt is expected to exceed the size of the American economy this year, a figure that does not take into account President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package,” the Washington Post reports.
“The CBO’s debt projections are sure to invigorate the ongoing debate over Biden’s stimulus proposal, as Republicans try to argue that the U.S. faces unsustainable debt burdens after spending more than $4 trillion in response to the virus.”
“State and local governments in early 2020 expected the pandemic-induced downturn to decimate their budgets, as millions of business closures and layoffs wiped out tax revenue,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“In many places, the fiscal picture hasn’t been nearly as dire as feared.”
“A flood of federal aid for businesses and households helped prop up incomes and consumer spending. Unemployment fell and economic activity picked up much faster than expected. Unlike in previous recessions, equity and housing markets have done well.”
Doyle McManus: “Biden and his advisors say two experiences during the administration of Barack Obama have shaped their actions. One is the economic stimulus bill of 2009, which they trimmed to $787 billion in hopes of winning GOP support. The measure wasn’t big enough to jump-start the economy, and unhappy voters revolted against Democrats in the 2010 midterm election.”
“The second experience was Obama’s fruitless search for bipartisan support on his healthcare legislation in 2010, a months-long quest that nearly torpedoed the entire bill. Biden said it was ‘an easy choice’ to avoid similar negotiations this time.”
“His calculation is straightforward: In 2022, voters are more likely to remember whether he delivered enough aid to revive the economy than whether the bill passed with Republican votes.”
“Senior Democrats on Monday will unveil legislation to provide $3,000 per child to tens of millions of American families, aiming to make a major dent in child poverty as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package,” the Washington Post reports.
“It also comes days after Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) surprised policymakers with a proposal to send even more in direct cash per child to American families, lending bipartisan support to the major push for child benefits.”
“The House voted 219-209 to approve the budget plan, which the Senate had already passed early Friday morning, beginning the process of turning Biden’s stimulus proposal into legislation,” the Washington Post reports.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Friday she aims to pass Biden’s stimulus plan within two weeks.”
“The Senate approved a budget bill early Friday that paves the way for passage of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with Vice President Harris casting the tiebreaking vote on the measure that will be key to enacting Biden’s first major legislative initiative,” the Washington Post reports.
“Passage of the budget bill by a 51-to-50 vote came just after 5:30 a.m. Friday, after an all-night Senate session during which senators plowed through dozens of amendments in a chaotic process known as a ‘vote-a-rama.’ Democrats cheered the progress on measures to address the pandemic, while Republicans complained of partisanship and excessive spending.”
Axios: “The resolution will now go back to the House for final approval, at which point committees be allowed to begin writing the bill.”
The Senate passsed the Democrats’ budget resolution, 50 to 49, paving the way to pass President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package using reconciliation.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was absent so Vice President Kamala Harris did not need to break the tie.
“When we had a Republican president and House and Senate, we kept on spending massively and adding almost a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. Now we say this is outrageous adding so much to the debt? They say we did the same thing when we were in charge. It does show that you have to be consistent in your arguments.”
— Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.
NBC News: “Democrats considering a maneuver to forgo bipartisan support to pass Covid-19 relief are confronting an unintended consequence: Doing so could automatically cut Medicare.
“Under the Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, known as PAYGO, new laws that raise the national debt automatically trigger offsetting cuts in some safety net programs.”
“Democrats are moving now to fast-track a Covid relief package,” CNN reports.
“If Republicans want to come along, great. Democrats are arguing Republicans can vote for budget reconciliation. If Republicans don’t like the plan, they can keep talking to the White House, but the underlying takeaway from the meeting on Monday night — and all the messages from the White House in the days before that — is the President is only willing to negotiate so much. Republicans’ $618 billion proposal with no state and local funding is not going to cut it. Period.”