US President Joe Biden said he was confident his landmark spending bill would soon become law as he spoke in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. He said passing the dramatically reduced bill was a choice between “running the world or letting the world ignore us.”
After meeting with other Democrats on Capitol Hill, Biden said, “I know we have a historic economic framework. It’s a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people, will turn the climate crisis into an opportunity and set us on the path not only to competition, but also to economic victory in the 21st century. â
After agreeing to revisions to the sweeping spending bill, he hopes Democrats will sign on to it before attending a series of world summits in Europe. In private discussions with Democratic sources, the president said, “We are at an inflection point. The rest of the world is wondering if we can function.”
The president hoped to pass key climate change legislation ahead of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Biden also stressed the gravity of the moment to his fellow Democrats, saying: “It is not hyperbole to say that the majorities in the House and Senate and my presidency will be determined by what happens next week.”
For her part, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California has vowed to hold a vote as soon as possible, possibly as early as Thursday afternoon. She told Democrats in the House, “When the president gets off that plane, we want him to get a vote of confidence from this Congress. For us to be successful, we have to be successful today.”
Biden on Thursday announced the revisions that include a $ 555 billion (â¬ 477 billion) clean energy tax credit, a 1% tax on corporate share buybacks, a minimum tax of 15 % on corporate profits for US companies making more than $ 1 billion in profit and free. preschool for the next six years as well as an expansion of palliative home care for the elderly.
Biden dropped a proposal to allow the federal government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, paid family leave, and canceled a billionaire tax launched earlier in the week.
Biden had delayed his departure for Europe Thursday morning to attend the House Democratic Caucus meeting by a few hours in a final attempt to negotiate a deal.
His plans for climate investments, lower health care costs and universal preschool education were “all within our grasp,” the president tweeted on Wednesday.
Possibility of arriving empty-handed
Biden will join world leaders, first in Rome for the G20 meeting – followed by a meeting with the Pope in Vatican City – then in Glasgow for the main climate talks at COP26.
The White House wanted to be able to show the significant efforts it was considering to fight climate change, and encourage other countries to follow suit.
Biden should be present to sign any bills and before that he should arrive at his office ratified by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“Of course he would like to take this trip with a deal,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She added, however, that world leaders “are reviewing the president’s pledge” on infrastructure and climate, not what is passed in Congress.
“They see that we are on the verge of a deal,” she said.
Internal party barriers
Biden’s signing legislation, a spending program of at least $ 1.75 trillion (â¬ 1.51 trillion), has so far failed to make its way through the Senate, which is divided equally between Democrats and Republicans.
This is in large part thanks to two Democratic senators to the right of the party, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who blocked key elements of the bill.
Leaving Capitol Hill on Thursday, Biden said he thought “we’re going to be in good shape.” This sentiment was echoed by Sinema, who said: “I can’t wait to do this.”
Key pieces of the legislation have already been removed in order to gain their support, including paid family leave plans and a billionaire’s tax just Wednesday.
However, plans to expand health care programs, free kindergarten and around $ 500 billion in investments to fight climate change were still on the table.
ab / wmr (AP, AFP, Reuters)