White House appeals to populist message as Biden proposes $ 3.5 million plan | WGN 720 radio


WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is preparing an urgent, populist message to sell President Joe Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion program to “build better,” even as House committee leaders begin to produce pieces of the measure to come.

In a note sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press, the administration warns there is no time to waste in pushing through the package of corporate tax hikes and national initiatives by the end of the month.

“We face a fundamental choice in America right now as we rebuild our economy: This time, will everyone agree? Said the note. “It is now. We must meet the needs that lie ahead. Not tomorrow, not in months, not next year. Right now.”

The urgent appeal comes at a crucial time, with Democrats in the House and Senate hoping to assemble the package before the self-imposed September 15 deadline. It also comes as Biden seeks to refocus on his main campaign promises after a brutal summer, punctuated by spikes in COVID-19 cases and deadly evacuations and withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Illustrating the ambition of the Democrats as well as the challenges they face, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal released part of the bill portion of his panel on Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Democrat has proposed creating a new paid family and medical leave program for workers that is more generous than Biden’s own plan and expanding Medicare to provide dental, vision and hearing benefits.

But Neal also didn’t immediately unveil the tax increases on the wealthy and businesses that Democrats say will pay a large chunk of the cost of the measure, saving that for days to come.

Tax increases are likely to be among the most controversial pieces of the package, with some moderate Democrats facing tough re-election fights suspicious of them. But they are crucial if the party is to support its claim that these tax hikes and other savings will pay for the whole measure, which they say will cost $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years.

Neal and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Are trying to resolve differences on some points in the hope that the House-approved measure will go largely smoothly in the Senate, have said Democrats who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the status of the legislation.

The bill will need the support of virtually all Democrats to erase the tightly divided Congress. The Ways and Means panel has jurisdiction over most of the comprehensive bill, and its members plan to start voting on their part of the plan on Thursday and Friday.

“This is our historic opportunity to support working families and ensure that our economy is stronger, more inclusive and more resilient for generations to come,” Neal said in a statement.

Republicans say Neal’s measure will end up raising taxes for people earning less than $ 400,000, which Biden and Democrats have said won’t happen. “They are hiding the ball,” said JP Freire, spokesperson for the GOP group.

The committee’s proposal will pay up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers, starting in 2023, including for high incomes. Biden’s plan would be implemented gradually over the decade.

Neal’s proposal would also phase in Medicare coverage for visual benefits from 2022, hearings in 2023, and dental care in 2028. Details were missing when he released on Tuesday a proposal to lower the age. Medicare eligibility at age 60, which was considered unlikely to be included. because it is expensive.

It also includes increased spending on child care, long-term care facilities, better benefits for workers made redundant due to imports, and training for healthcare workers.

In the White House, September is seen as a crucial month for making gains on Biden’s agenda. In speeches and travel, the president is expected to adopt a more aggressive populist tone as he rallies his support for the plan.

Congressional approval is not guaranteed as Democrats seek to fundamentally overhaul certain aspects of the U.S. economy and its government support systems.

Democrats are already bracing for a wave of attacks on what Republicans call Biden’s big tax and spending plans, as the GOP tries to take control of Congress by winning House and Senate seats in the elections. midterm elections next year.

By presenting the upcoming arguments as a choice, the White House is showing Congressional Democrats one way the administration plans to counter these Republican attacks.

“Republicans who oppose the Build Back Better program have also chosen which side they are on,” the note from White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told House Democratic communicators.

“The Build Back Better program is about addressing these challenges and leveling the playing field to ensure that the wealthiest and businesses pay their fair share and that working families have a chance to succeed and prosper in this country,” indicates the memo.

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