Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer announce agreement on energy bill and health care

But he will face furious opposition from the GOP.

While Manchin scuttled President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, the final deal includes a number of provisions that West Virginia moderates had privately mocked, representing a significant reversal from the Beginning of the month. This includes provisions relating to the climate crisis.

The agreement contains a number of Democrat goals. Although many details were not disclosed, the measure would invest $369 billion in energy and climate change programs, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, according to a report. one-page fact sheet. For the first time, Medicare would have the ability to negotiate prices for certain drugs and cap out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 for people enrolled in Medicare drug plans. It would also extend expiring enhanced grants for Affordable Care Act coverage for three years.

The announcement comes at a crucial time for Congress, as the Senate is just over a week away from beginning a month-long recess, when many Democrats will campaign for re-election. The news also came hours after the Senate passed a separate bill to invest $52 billion in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, sending it to the House for consideration as early as this week.

Notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously vowed to try to thwart passage of the semiconductor bill if Democrats continue to press ahead with their climate and pricing bill. medication.

The Manchin Agreement represents a reversal

Manchin’s support is notable given his stance earlier this month that he would not “unequivocally” support the climate or fiscal provisions of the Democratic economic package, which seemed to torpedo any hope Democrats had of passing legislation to fight. against climate change in the near future.

But Schumer and Manchin have been in reignited talks since July 18 and reached an agreement on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Manchin had thrown cold water on crafting tax and energy provisions as part of the deal, but ultimately went along with it.

The White House signed that deal, Biden said in a statement.

The deal still faces multiple hurdles before it can make it to Biden’s office, including the congressman and having to go through both houses of Congress, where virtually any Democrat could rule out or delay passage.

Climate provisions ‘could be a huge win’

In a statement, Schumer’s office said the bill would reduce U.S. carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030. Clean energy tax credits would drive the majority of those emissions reductions. , said a Democratic aide.

Two weeks ago, Schumer and Manchin were close to reaching a deal on $375 billion for the bill’s climate and energy provisions; the turnover for the climate announced this evening is lower by 6 billion dollars than the initial figure.

Still, a senior Democratic official told CNN he was happy with the $369 billion spending figure for the climate and energy portion of the bill, saying it was more funding than expected in under an agreement.

Tax credits for electric vehicles have been built into the new deal, according to two Senate Democratic aides. Electric vehicle tax credits will remain at their current level, up to $4,000 for a used electric vehicle and $7,500 for a new electric vehicle. However, there will be a lower income threshold for people who can use the tax credits – a key request from Manchin. Manchin had been adamantly opposed to electric vehicle tax credits throughout the negotiations.

Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota told CNN she was presiding over the Senate on Wednesday night when Schumer called her to say he had reached an agreement with Manchin on a climate and energy bill. As Smith presided, his phone kept ringing with an unlisted number, which called Schumer. Finally, she answered it.

“I knew it was Chuck; I gave the complete no-no and answered the phone,” Smith told CNN. “He said ‘40% reduction in emissions by 2030 is a big deal!'”

Smith, a Senate climate hawk, told CNN she was pleased a deal was reached after many ups and downs in negotiations with Manchin.

She said the deal was “the most important climate and clean energy action we’ve ever taken”.

“Everyone is very excited. I’m stunned but in a good way,” Smith said.

Executives from two prominent climate groups also told CNN the latest development was unexpected.

“It’s not what anyone expected, but we’re so excited to have him back,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, told CNN. “Obviously it’s not coming too soon as families battle the insane heat across the world and the country.”

Lawyers were awaiting more details on the climate provisions, which are expected to be released on Wednesday evening.

“We need to see the details of this deal, especially if it allows for fossil fuel reform and development,” Jamal Raad, co-founder of Evergreen Action, told CNN. “We will have to see in the next few days the modeling of this legislation.”

But if the package does indeed deliver the emissions cuts promised by Schumer, Raad said it would be a hugely significant step.

“If this package does it boldly, it could put us on the path to achieving our goals and could be a huge win,” he said.

Medicare drug price negotiation provisions remain in the bill

The agreement maintains prescription drug price changes that Manchin had previously agreed to, including allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of certain expensive drugs administered in doctors’ offices or purchased at pharmacies. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would negotiate prices for 10 drugs in 2026, and another 15 drugs in 2027 and again in 2028. The number would increase to 20 drugs per year for 2029 and beyond.

He would also overhaul Medicare Part D drug plans so that seniors and people with disabilities pay no more than $2,000 a year for drugs bought at the pharmacy. And, the deal would force drug companies to pay rebates if they raise prices in the health and private insurance markets faster than inflation.

In total, the drug pricing provisions would reduce the deficit by $288 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The agreement also includes extending the Affordable Care Act’s enhanced grants for three years. The original deal would have extended the enhanced grants for two years, meaning they would have expired right after the 2024 presidential election — a scenario Congressional Democrats did not want to encounter.

The grants were extended this year as part of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, known as the US bailout, which was signed into law in March 2021. They returned the cover health care on the more affordable Obamacare exchanges, which led to record enrollment this year.

Enrollees pay no more than 8.5% of their income for coverage, compared to almost 10%. And low-income policyholders receive subsidies that completely eliminate their premiums. Additionally, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level became eligible for assistance for the first time.

Extending the enhanced subsidies would cost $64 billion over a decade, according to the CBO.

pay the bill

To boost revenue, the bill would impose a minimum corporate tax of 15%, which would raise $313 billion over a decade. While details on the current deal remain scarce, the House version of the Build Back Better package would have levied corporate income tax that big companies report to shareholders, not the Internal Revenue Service. It would have applied to companies making more than $1 billion in profits and generated similar revenue.

The current agreement also aims to close the carried interest loophole, which allows investment managers to treat their compensation as capital gains and pay a long-term capital gains tax rate of 20% to the instead of income tax rates of up to 37%. Closing that loophole, which would net $14 billion over a decade, has been a longtime goal of congressional Democrats.

The package also calls for providing more funding to the IRS for tax enforcement, which would raise $124 billion.

Democrats say families earning less than $400,000 a year would not be affected, in line with Biden’s pledge. Also, there would be no new taxes on small businesses.

Manchin said in a statement that the deal would ensure “that big corporations and the ultra-rich pay their fair share of taxes,” although it would not contain tax rate hikes on wealthy Americans and large corporations that Democrats originally wanted to include in budget reconciliation packages before they were shot down by Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Notably, Manchin also threw cold water on one of Schumer’s priorities – addressing the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, known as SALT, which was part of the tax reduction program. GOP taxes in 2017 and affects many states in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

Many details of the current deal have yet to be ironed out, which could delay or scuttle it, said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center for Fiscal Policy.

In total, Democrats say the deal would reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion.

“Rather than risk more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will reduce the inflation taxes Americans pay, reduce the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure that our country is investing in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination,” Manchin said in his own statement Wednesday afternoon.

This story was updated with additional development on Wednesday.

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