Business & Economy

On The Money: Democrats reach deal on $3.5T target | Biden rallies Democrats: ‘We’re going to get this done’

Greg Nash

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’re probably going to be avoiding flights for a while. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com and njagoda@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane and @NJagoda.

THE BIG DEAL—Biden rallies Democrats: ‘We’re going to get this done’

President Biden received a warm welcome from Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill, where he met with lawmakers Wednesday to rally them to support his infrastructure agenda.

  • Biden, making his first trip to visit Democrats in the Senate since being elected president, appeared to be in a buoyant mood as his economic agenda picked up speed.
  • The visit was just hours after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced a deal among Budget Committee Democrats on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution—the vehicle for the massive infrastructure and social support bill currently being crafted.

“We’re going to get this done,” Biden told reporters as he walked into the Senate, where he served for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton takes us to the halls of the Senate here.

What we know so far about the $3.5 trillion budget deal: Senate Democrats still need to hammer out some of the details, and legislative text has yet to be released. They also need to get all 50 members of their caucus on board with the proposal for it to pass without GOP support. That said, we’ve got a general idea of what the bill will include:

  • The budget proposal would give Democrats the ability to pursue many of the social spending programs that Biden outlined earlier this year in his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, such as universal pre-K, paid family and medical leave and nutrition assistance, according to a senior Democratic aide.
  • The measure also would allow Democrats to seek extensions of tax-credit expansions established by the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law that Biden enacted in March.
  • The budget framework would allow Democrats to pursue spending that aims to meet Biden’s climate goals of 80 percent clean electricity and a 50-percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 by funding clean-energy tax incentives, federal procurement of clean energy technologies and a clean-energy accelerator.
  • It would pave the way for Democrats to pursue adding dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare, a top priority for many progressives, and allow Democrats to bolster expanded ObamaCare subsidies, expand Medicaid in states that have not already done so and lower patient spending on prescription drugs, the senior Democratic aide said.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda breaks it all down here.

What comes next: Biden’s agenda got a boost earlier in the day when Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a key centrist, said he would vote to proceed to the budget resolution. 

“The price tag is a lot of money but it doesn’t scare me, it’s just how it’s being spent. There are plenty of needs out there, we just have to figure out how it’s being spent,” Tester told The Hill.

Another key centrist, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), said he’s “open” to the budget deal but cautioned he will need time to review how it’s paid for to make sure proposed corporate tax increases don’t hurt the competitiveness of U.S. companies in foreign markets.

“We’re anxious to basically review it. They worked hard on it, we want to see it. Also I’ve been very clear that I want to see the pay-fors and make sure that whatever we do is globally competitive,” Manchin told reporters.

Read more:

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Wednesday that the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget deal is “wildly out of proportion to what the country needs now,” at a time he says inflation is “raging.”
  • Progressive lawmakers are praising the Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget deal, arguing that if it moves through Congress along with a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan deal, it would amount to a historic effort to reshape the economy.
  • The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of major labor unions and environmental organizations, is kicking off a campaign to demand “bold” investments in climate-friendly manufacturing jobs as Congress wrestles with advancing President Biden’s economic agenda.

LEADING THE DAY

Key GOP lawmaker backs Powell for another term as Fed chief: The top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday called on President Biden to renominate Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve board.

In opening remarks during a Wednesday hearing with Powell, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) — the panel’s ranking member — said the Fed chief “earned and deserved another term” leading the central bank.

“There’s a great deal of uncertainty right now,” McHenry said. “You have proven to be a steady hand throughout this pandemic and ongoing recovery, and you’ve defended the independence of the Fed. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your leadership.”

“Now, we’re going to spend the next three hours telling you everything you’ve done wrong, but you do deserve another term,” he continued.

The background: McHenry’s endorsement comes as Biden weighs whether to renominate Powell, a Republican elevated to lead the Fed by former President Trump in 2017. 

  • The Fed chief is widely liked and respected among lawmakers in both parties for standing up to Trump’s attacks on the central bank’s independence and leading the Fed’s successful efforts to stabilize financial markets during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Democrats also praised Powell for his thinly veiled support of a major fiscal response to the pandemic, while Republicans have backed his efforts to pare back some Dodd-Frank regulations.
  • Even so, Biden is facing pressure from progressives and financial sector critics to appoint a new chair more closely aligned with his politics. 

I’ve got more here.

Read more: Powell: Inflation likely to remain high before fading later this year

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on supply chain resilience at 10:30 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on community development block grants and disaster recovery at 12 p.m.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The difference in compensation between CEOs and the average workers trended upward in 2020, according to a report by a labor union released on Wednesday.
  • An Atlanta-based federal appeals court on Wednesday dealt another blow to landlords seeking to end a nationwide eviction freeze put in place amid the pandemic.
  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Wednesday called for the Senate Finance Committee to investigate tax-avoidance strategies used by wealthy Americans.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Amazon is donating $40 million worth of land to Arlington County, Va., to build more affordable housing near a second headquarters the company is constructing in the area.
  • Facebook is seeking Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan’s recusal from participating in decisions about how the agency proceeds with its antitrust case against the social media giant, according to a petition the company filed Wednesday.
Tags Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Tester Lina Khan Mitch McConnell Patrick McHenry Sheldon Whitehouse

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