President Joe Biden is expected Thursday to talk up the benefits of Senate Democrats’ $739 billion healthcare, energy and tax package, with his comments coming at a virtual White House event with officials from companies and unions.
Biden, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, “will host a roundtable event with business and labor leaders to discuss how the Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for families and businesses, lower the deficit, fight inflation, lower energy costs, and significantly bolster domestic manufacturing,” the White House said in a statement, adding that the discussion is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
The officials from Corporate America and unions who will be participating virtually are Marry Barra, CEO at carmaker General Motors
; David Gitlin, CEO at home-appliances giant Carrier
; Warner Baxter, CEO at power company Ameren
; Jennifer Rumsey, the new CEO at engines maker Cummins
; Greg Adams, CEO at healthcare heavyweight Kaiser Permanente; Ray Curry, the UAW’s president; and Liz Shuler, the AFL-CIO’s president. That’s according to a White House official.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced last week that they’d reached a long-awaited deal on the so-called budget reconciliation bill. The measure is a greatly pared-down version of prior Democratic spending proposals, such as Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
Analysts for the Penn Wharton Budget Model and Moody’s have estimated that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 won’t actually reduce inflation by a great deal.
But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group, has spoken in favor of the big legislative package, saying it would reduce budget deficits by over $300 billion in its first nine years — and cut deficits by $1.9 trillion over two decades.
The exact timing for when the Senate could pass the Manchin-Schumer package currently appears unclear, said Tobin Marcus, a policy and politics strategist at Evercore ISI, in a note on Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the “greatest source of uncertainty,” as she is asking for changes to one provision that would address the so-called carried-interest loophole and to another provision that would establish a 15% corporate minimum tax, as well as seeking $5 billion in drought-related funding.
“Either Schumer will move forward sometime late this week or early next based on an expectation that Sinema will support the bill, or it will become clear that Sinema’s concerns require further negotiations, at which point Democrats may have no choice but to punt to September,” Marcus wrote.
Every Democratic senator’s vote is crucial for reconciliation bills because the 100-member Senate is evenly split and Republican support isn’t expected. Democrats are in control of the chamber only because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes.
Americans’ frustrations with high inflation are helping to keep Biden’s approval ratings low — and giving a talking point for Republicans to use against Biden and his fellow Democrats in this year’s midterm elections. The president, for his part, has said fighting inflation is his administration’s top economic priority.