US Senate Democrats want to avoid “booby traps” such as COVID and surprises from within their own ranks in order to pass a $430 billion pharmaceuticals and climate change plan reached after months of negotiations by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and maverick Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Passage of the plan would be a victory for President Joe Biden’s party; it would impose minimum taxes on firms in the United States and continue subsidies for the popular Obamacare health-care scheme. Schumer hopes to get it enacted before the Senate’s summer recess, which starts at the end of next week.
“There will be booby traps” on the path to legislative ratification, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock warned reporters after a party caucus meeting on Thursday. However, he emphasized that Democrats can “absolutely” approve the bill this summer.
Biden said in a White House speech that the plan will make considerable progress toward his climate objectives and restoring justice to the federal tax structure, while also tackling inflation.
“The work of the government can be slow and frustrating and sometimes even infuriating,” he said, adding, “This bill is far from perfect, it’s a compromise … that’s often how progress is made, is by compromises.”
One important issue is whether Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has previously obstructed her party’s legislative agenda, would support for the plan.
Sinema has not yet expressed support or opposition, although she has previously expressed support for the notion of a 15% minimum tax on the most profitable firms in the United States. The proposal, which was released late Wednesday, featured this tax.
Schumer intends to use a parliamentary trick to approve the bill with solely Democratic votes, circumventing Senate rules that need 60 of the Senate’s 100 members to agree. In order to vote in person, his caucus members will also have to avoid contracting COVID-19, as required by Senate regulations.
In recent weeks, many Senate Democrats, including Manchin and Biden, have tested positive for COVID.
Passing the law might help Democrats limit their losses in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, in which Republicans are expected to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans aim to retake control of the Senate as well.