Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

President Joe Biden’s cornerstone Build Back Better tax and spending plan remains one vote short as lawmakers return to work in the United States Congress on Monday.

Maverick Democrat Senator Joe Manchin has refused to go along with Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion plan, worrying about its cost and scope.

National suffrage and the January 6 riot investigation are also high on the Congress agenda.

Democrats have a slim majority of nine members in the House, and the Senate is evenly divided, making it difficult to pass major legislation, especially with midterm elections imminent in November.

Build Better Back

Biden tried to keep Build Back Better going with a one-on-one call on Dec. 20 to Manchin described as “heartfelt.”

Top Democrats in Congress have said they will continue to work to implement the plan, which they say will strengthen the American middle class and combat the long-term threat of climate change.

“I had a good conversation with the president and the speaker, where we talked about ongoing negotiations on the finalization of the Build Back Better Act so that we can pass it in the Senate,” said Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate. majority, the top Senate Democrat, reported. the Senate.

“The president has asked for more time to continue his negotiations, and therefore we will work hand-in-hand with him to bring this bill across the finish line,” Schumer said.

Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat vital to the fate of President Joe Biden's $ 1.75 trillion spending plan, walks alone to a Democratic caucus lunch at the Capitol Despite being sued and seduced for months, Senator Joe Manchin is still a lone hold among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s big $ 1.75 trillion domestic spending plan [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill, which has characterized them as out-of-control spending on social programs that will further fuel inflation, cut working-class wages, and damage the economy.

“Even if they hacked this bill, $ 1.5 trillion is not a moderate compromise. It’s still a massive tax-and-spending bill,” said Fox Business Representative Steve Scalise, number two. Network’s ‘Kudlow’ show.

The Democrats’ legislative pressure is driving independent swing voters to Republicans “en masse because they think it’s crazy,” Scalise said.

Apart from politics, Democrats have policy motives to accept Biden’s signature initiative because it includes a renewal of a tax credit that benefits millions of lower-income families with children. The bill also includes new funding for childcare, early education and climate change.

Monthly payments from the child tax credit expired at the end of December.

“We are just trying to see how soon we can implement the Build Back Better legislation. It’s so important. It’s full of meaning, ”said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who used the tax credit that expired as” really important leverage “in hopes of winning Senate approval of the larger bill.

Vote

With progress halted on Biden’s budget, Democratic leaders plan to turn to suffrage. The issue is hotly debated nationally and in many states after the 2020 presidential election that former President Donald Trump refused to concede and continues to claim that it is fraud.

In the Senate, first-year Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, push hard to promote voting rights legislation that will make it easier for Americans to vote.

Warnock called on leaders to create a special rule to pass reform legislation by a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes required under filibuster rules.

Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock speaks at a news conference after the weekly Democratic policy lunch on Capitol Hill. Senator Raphael Warnock faces re-election in Georgia where state Republicans introduce new restrictive voting rules [Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo]

“The warning lights of our democracy are flickering at the moment and we seem reluctant to respond with the same urgency to protect democracy that we have to protect the economy,” Warnock said in a Senate speech.

Two Democrats-backed suffrage bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Act, passed the House and are pending in the Senate where opposition Republicans blocked their passage.

“We have been trying all year to get Republicans to join us in a two-party effort to protect our democracy, but they have resisted and they have prevented the Senate from having as much as one debate on this issue. to perform, “Schumer said.

Senate Democrats are holding detailed discussions on a possible change in Senate rules that would allow them to circumvent a Republican filibuster of national reforms on voting laws.

“The voting restrictions we see being implemented in Republican-dominated state legislatures are the most heinous violations of suffrage since the days of Jim Crow, and they are accepted entirely on a party-line basis,” Schumer said.

Biden called the latest discussions on voting reforms “productive” and urged “we should continue with voting rights legislation”.

January 6 investigation

In the House, biased malice is likely to accelerate as a Select Committee the January 6 riot investigation by Trump supporters is gaining momentum.

The House panel examining the January 6 uprising - sitting from left Representatives Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren, chairman Bennie Thompson, vice-chair Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Jamie Raskin, at the Capitol - have former president Donald Trump's claims of privilege reject.The House panel investigating the January 6 uprising has rejected former President Donald Trump’s claims of privilege [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

The committee questioned hundreds of witnesses about what happened in the run-up to the riot when Trump supporters stormed police at the Capitol and disrupted congressional formal proceedings to certify Biden’s election victory.

A “key question before the committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or lack of action, corruptly try to obstruct or impede Congress’s official procedure for counting votes?” said Republican Liz Cheney.

It has sued dozens of Trump aides and associates as it focuses on Trump’s campaign to reverse the election results and is expected to begin high-profile public hearings soon.

It was tasked to provide a public report of its findings before the election.

Countering China

Congress is working on major legislation to promote U.S. semiconductor production amid a global deficit of chips, Chinese competition and threats against Taiwan, but progress is uncertain.

“If we want to compete globally, we are investing domestically, and specifically in the revival of the semiconductor industry,” Gina Raimondo, trade secretary, said in a speech that promoted the initiative at the Detroit Economic Club at the end of November.

In December, a two-party group of senators introduced the Domestic Semiconductor Manufacturing Investment Act, which would provide for $ 52 billion in federal incentives for U.S. production.

“The recent global shortage of chips has halted U.S. medical equipment, computer and automotive supply chains,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a leading Republican sponsor of the bill that seeks to reduce U.S. dependence on suppliers in China.

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