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Pelosi says framework for social spending bill within reach

UPI News
UPI News
 2021-10-21
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Oct. 21 (UPI) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats were closing in on the framework for an expansive social spending bill.

The bill, called Build Back Better, aims to fulfill many campaign promises of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats by directing trillions of dollars toward social services, healthcare and other priorities.

Democrats' narrow control of each chamber of Congress has meant months of negotiations to trim its initial $3.5 trillion size in an effort to appease party moderates.

"Although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic, transformational and will make an enormous difference in the lives of America's working families," Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.

She said the bill will lower prescription drug prices and expand Medicaid in states that haven't while achieving nearly universal health coverage through improvements to the Affordable Care Act. The legislation will also extend the child tax credit, establish universal pre-school and paid family medical leave. Additionally, it will bring the United States closer to cutting carbon emissions by half by 2030, she said.

Pelosi said she was confident congressional leaders would meet their Friday deadline for producing a framework.

"We've always been on track for doing that," Pelosi said. "The House has been on schedule. We have a goal, we have a timetable."

While details of the legislation are being negotiated outside of public view, Pelosi insisted the legislation will be paid for.

The legislation will need the vote of all 50 Senate Democrats. However, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has come out in opposition to higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for the package.

When asked about Sinema's opposition, Pelosi said questions around increased taxes would be handled by the chairs of the Senate and House finance committees.

Earlier, Biden called for hiking the corporate tax rate to 28%. But the newest version of the legislation could leave out an increased corporate tax rate, NBC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

Biden is eyeing an overall price tag of $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion for the package, reports NBC. Other ideas being floated are taxes on the assets of billionaires, a new minimum tax on corporations and increasing tax enforcement.

Biden is also committed to having the bill paid for in full, a White House spokesman told NBC.

This week in Washington

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