WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., told fellow Democrats in a closed meeting Thursday that he aims to pass a major spending bill before the summer vacation. August of the chamber, according to a Democrat at the meeting.
Schumer’s comments came a day after Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., a key moderate, announced his support for the deal. The package includes major investments in drug pricing, as well as provisions to tackle climate change and taxes on the wealthy — priorities Democrats “have been fighting for for decades,” Schumer said.
The deal marks an important step toward reviving elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda after Manchin said in December that he would not vote for the president’s Build Back Better Act, his initial spending proposal.
Delivering remarks from the White House on Thursday, Biden called on Congress to pass the package, hailing it as “the single most important investment, not hyperbole, we’ve ever made in our energy security,” while insisting on the fact that it would “reduce inflationary pressures”. on the economy”.
“We should embrace this today and get moving,” he said.
In a joint statement Wednesday, Schumer and Manchin said the bill would “make a historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation, invest in domestic energy generation and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions.” by about 40% by 2030,” while allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs and lower health care costs.
“This bill is far from perfect, it’s a trade-off. But that’s often how progress is made, through trade-offs,” Biden said. “My message to Congress is this: This is the strongest bill you can pass to reduce inflation, reduce the deficit, reduce health care costs, fight the climate crisis and promote security. while reducing the burdens on working-class and middle-class families.
manchin told reporters that he had not spoken about the agreement with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, adding that he was unwilling to cancel a revenue-generating provision that would increase taxes on deferred interest – a measure to which it has previously declared itself opposed.
“We haven’t raised taxes, so she should be happy with that,” Manchin said, noting that the bill didn’t include tax increases except to a minimum of 15%. “I hope everyone is doing well.”
Sinema’s office reiterated that she would not currently take a position on the bill, with a spox for Sinema telling NBC News, “She has no comment, she is reviewing the text and will have to review what comes out of the bill.” parliamentary process. ”
During his call with Democrats earlier Thursday, Schumer acknowledged that the Senate was racing against time. Passing the bill “will force us to stick together and work long days and nights for the next 10 days,” Schumer said, according to a Democrat at the meeting. “We will have to be disciplined in our messaging and our focus. It will be tough.”
The bill does not include paid leave provisions, which has drawn criticism from some advocates who say it is increasingly important after the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to leave. abortion. Manchin previously expressed opposition to the Democrats’ paid leave proposal.