U.S News

Biden’s Economic Agenda Faces Familiar Hurdle With Fight Over Financing

As Democrats pursue both bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and a catch-all economic package, old divisions persist on how to fund the spending.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s ambitions for a large-scale investment in the nation’s aging public works system along with other parts of his economic agenda hinge on what has always been the most difficult problem for lawmakers: agreeing on how to pay for the spending.

That question has sent a group of centrist senators scrounging to find creative ways to cover nearly $600 billion in new spending that they want to include as part of a potential compromise plan to invest in roads, broadband internet, electric utilities and other federal infrastructure projects.

The White House and Republicans have ruled out entire categories of potential ways to raise revenues. The impasse has become the subject of increasingly urgent talks between a large group of Senate Democrats, Republicans, White House officials and, at times, the president himself.

Among the ideas that senators have discussed in recent days are repurposing unspent coronavirus relief funds, increasing enforcement by the I.R.S. and establishing user fees for drivers, including indexing the gas tax to inflation.

Mr. Biden dispatched aides to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for discussions that his press secretary, Jen Psaki, said yielded progress but no agreement. Top White House officials are set to meet on Wednesday evening with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. Those discussions will center on infrastructure negotiations as well as a separate effort to move a large chunk of the president’s $4 trillion economic agenda through the Senate without any Republican votes using a procedural mechanism known as reconciliation.

Among those expected to attend the meeting are Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser to Mr. Biden; Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs; Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Susan E. Rice, who leads the White House Domestic Policy Council, according to an official familiar with the plans.

Democratic leaders in Congress are preparing to move a sweeping, multitrillion-dollar bill through the reconciliation process to avoid the need for Republican votes and approve spending on physical infrastructure, education, emissions reduction, child care, paid leave, antipoverty efforts and more. But centrist Democrats in the Senate — along with Mr. Biden — have said repeatedly that they want to strike a deal with Republicans on what would be a pared-down version of the president’s plan to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.

The bipartisan group has not reached public agreement on how to finance the spending. Moderates in both parties insist that any deal be paid for with new revenues. Mr. Biden has offered $4 trillion in potential revenue sources, all concentrated on increasing the tax burden on businesses and high earners. Republicans have countered with hundreds of billions of their own, including increased taxes for drivers and repurposing previously borrowed money from the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that Mr. Biden signed into law this year.

The senators who spearheaded the original framework spent much of Tuesday huddling with Mr. Deese, Mr. Ricchetti and Ms. Terrell to iron out the details of an outline to provide for $1.2 trillion over eight years, of which $579 billion is new funding, and how to finance it.

“These things are always complicated and tough,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, as he left the Capitol on Tuesday. “We’re getting there. We’re moving in the right direction.”

Both sides did not appear to have enough common ground to formally announce how they would fund the plan. Shuttling across the Capitol for hourslong meetings scheduled around votes, the five Democrats and five Republicans declined to offer specifics beyond their prevailing optimism and plans to continue discussions.

“Pay-fors,” Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the Republicans negotiating the agreement, said when asked what the remaining stumbling blocks were. “Anytime you’re coming up with $579 billion, you’ve got to figure out how to do it.”

Mr. Biden has pledged to not raise taxes on the middle class, including at the gasoline pump. Senate Republicans refuse to increase tax rates for businesses and high earners. Both sides have dug in, to the surprise of some business leaders and other lobbyists in Washington.

White House officials have shifted in recent weeks to pressing Republicans to support one of Mr. Biden’s proposals that would not amount to an increase in tax rates: a plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on increased enforcement by the I.R.S. The administration says such a plan would collect hundreds of billions of dollars from high earners and corporations that owe, but do not pay, their fair share of taxes. Republicans say they are concerned about the scope of the provision, but they have continued to discuss it in private meetings.

“I would say we’ve put a lot of different options on pay-fors on the table,” Ms. Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. “And our view is: There’s a fundamental question right now. Are Republicans, members of Congress, do they believe that rich people should have to pay the taxes they owe, or should we increase the cost of travelers who are just trying to make it to work? That’s the basic question here. So we’ll see if they can make progress on that exact point.”

Image

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, is among the group of centrists that reached a tentative agreement on a framework for an infrastructure plan this month.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Lawmakers expressed optimism that a deal could be reached this week, but they acknowledged the division over raising revenues.

“It’s always the hard part of an infrastructure package,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, who unsuccessfully tried to negotiate an even narrower package with Mr. Biden.

“There’s a pretty good dividing line sometimes between Republicans and Democrats — certainly is on taxes,” she added. “But the president’s taken any kind of user fee off the table — which is traditionally where you pay for these things — so that just makes it extra hard.”

Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that he expected any final deal to include some money from Mr. Biden’s plans to increase I.R.S. enforcement.

He said he expected a final deal to have some pay-for surprises. “I suspect they’re going to have some creative ones that we don’t know about yet,” Mr. Bradley said.

The debate over how to finance Mr. Biden’s economic agenda will also extend to any package that lawmakers seek to push through using reconciliation, which could be as much as $6 trillion. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has asked Democrats on the panel to outline their priorities for the package as he aims to pass a budget blueprint to start the process by July.

“I think the priorities that the president has established, that we have established, are solid,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview as he described his strategy. “But, you know, we’re going to have to make sure that we end up with numbers that 50 members can agree on.”

He added that his intention was to pay for new initiatives — like child care subsidies and health care expansion — through “progressive taxation,” including raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. But he did not extend that to one-off spending like road or bridge repairs or improving water systems, saying, “it is not necessary to pay for, in my view, one-time capital improvements in the infrastructure.”

In an early indication of what Mr. Sanders called an effort to “soothe the edges,” he said he was open to relaxing a $10,000 cap on how much taxpayers can deduct in state and local taxes.

Several Democrats, particularly lawmakers representing New York and California, have warned that they might not support any changes to the tax code that do not address that provision. A draft budget document circulated by staff on Capitol Hill and obtained by The New York Times appeared to include funds for a partial repeal of the state and local tax deduction, which could mean eliminating the cap for all but the highest earners, or raising the level of the cap. There were few details about how those funds would be distributed, and lawmakers and aides cautioned that the plan was in flux.

“I have a problem with extremely wealthy people being able to get the complete deduction,” Mr. Sanders said. “I think that’s an issue we’ll have to work on.”

Cecilia Kang and Luke Broadwater contributed reporting.

Read More
U.S News

A Bill Destined to Fail May Now Spawn More Plausible Options

The For the People Act had little chance of testing the limits of what if anything is still possible in Washington. Oddly, it was so far from passage that it may provide some hope, because so many avenues remain to be pursued.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

The demise of the For the People Act — the far-reaching voting rights bill that Republicans blocked in the Senate on Tuesday — will come as a crushing blow to progressives and reformers, who have portrayed the law as an essential tool for saving democracy.

But it was a flawed bill that had little chance of testing the limits of what if anything is still possible in Washington. Voting rights activists and Democratic lawmakers may even find that the collapse of this law opens up more plausible, if still highly unlikely, paths to reform.

The law, known as H.R. 1 or S. 1, was full of hot-button measures — from public financing of elections to national mail voting — that were only tangentially related to safeguarding democracy, and all but ensured its failure in the Senate. Its supporters insisted the law should set the floor for voting rights; in truth, it set the floor at the ceiling, by guaranteeing a level of voting access that would be difficult to surpass.

At the same time, reformers did not add provisions to tackle the most insidious and serious threat to democracy: election subversion, where partisan election officials might use their powers to overturn electoral outcomes.

Instead, it focused on the serious but less urgent issues that animated reformers at the time the bill was first proposed in 2019: allegations of corruption in the Trump administration, the rise of so-called dark money in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, or the spate of voter identification laws passed in the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s election victories.

Even a cursory look at the effort by former President Donald J. Trump to subvert the 2020 election revealed a number of vulnerabilities in the electoral system, from the risk that a partisan election administrator might simply refuse to certify an unfavorable election result to the possibility that a vice president might choose not to count a certified electoral slate. None of those vulnerabilities were addressed.

Those concerns have only escalated over the last several months as Republicans have advanced bills that not only imposed new limits on voting, but also afforded the G.O.P. greater control over election administration. The new powers include the ability to strip secretaries of state of some of their authority and remove members of local election boards. The New York Times reported over the weekend how some Democrats on local boards in Georgia, including people of color, were losing their positions.

It’s true that the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s unprecedented attempt to undermine it revealed the fragility of American democracy in different and more fundamental ways than even the most perspicacious legislator could have anticipated. Originally, the bill was seen as a “political statement,” a progressive “wish list” or a “messaging bill,” not as the basis for a realistic legislative effort.

It was not designed to appeal to the moderate Senate Democrats, who progressives nonetheless hoped would eliminate the filibuster even as they insisted on different proposals and a bipartisan approach.

Yet oddly, the bill was so far from passage that reformers still have cause for some semblance of hope. Nearly every stone was left unturned.

As a result, many other avenues for reform remain to be pursued. None seem likely to be enacted in today’s political climate. All are more plausible than the bill that died in the Senate on Tuesday.

One of those avenues emerged in the final days of the push for H.R. 1: a grand bargain, like the one recently suggested by Joe Manchin III, the moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia who provoked outrage among progressives when he said he would oppose the bill in its current form.

Image

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, opposed the voting bill in its current form but proposed several compromises that gained favor with advocates. Credit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

The Manchin compromise resembles H.R. 1 in crucial ways. It does not address election subversion any more than H.R. 1 does. And it still seeks sweeping changes to voting, ethics, campaign finance and redistricting law. But it offers Republicans a national voter identification requirement, while relenting on many of the provisions that provoke the most intense Republican opposition.

Mr. Manchin’s proposal nonetheless provoked intense Republican opposition. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri derided it as a “Stacey Abrams” bill. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader from Kentucky, appeared to suggest that no federal election law would earn his support.

More generally, it is hard to imagine how Republicans could be enticed to accept stringent limits on gerrymandering, given the lopsided partisan consequences of such a ban.

But the strategy behind the Manchin proposal could nonetheless serve as a basis for serious legislative efforts: Democrats can offer Republicans provisions they actually want on voting, like new photo identification requirements, and see what that buys them.

The willingness of Ms. Abrams, who leads the Georgia-based voting rights group Fair Fight, to support the Manchin compromise, despite its embrace of voter ID measures — an archetypal voter suppression provision — suggests that there may be room to explore options that might attract support from Republicans and haven’t previously been considered.

Another avenue is a version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would again subject Southern states to obtain federal clearance before making changes to their voting system — a requirement that a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutted.

The Battle Over Voting Rights

After former President Donald J. Trump returned in recent months to making false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, Republican lawmakers in many states have marched ahead to pass laws making it harder to vote and change how elections are run, frustrating Democrats and even some election officials in their own party.

A Key Topic: The rules and procedures of elections have become central issues in American politics. As of May 14, lawmakers had passed 22 new laws in 14 states to make the process of voting more difficult, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute.The Basic Measures: The restrictions vary by state but can include limiting the use of ballot drop boxes, adding identification requirements for voters requesting absentee ballots, and doing away with local laws that allow automatic registration for absentee voting.More Extreme Measures: Some measures go beyond altering how one votes, including tweaking Electoral College and judicial election rules, clamping down on citizen-led ballot initiatives, and outlawing private donations that provide resources for administering elections.Pushback: This Republican effort has led Democrats in Congress to find a way to pass federal voting laws. A sweeping voting rights bill passed the House in March, but faces difficult obstacles in the Senate, including from Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia. Republicans have remained united against the proposal and even if the bill became law, it would most likely face steep legal challenges.Florida: Measures here include limiting the use of drop boxes, adding more identification requirements for absentee ballots, requiring voters to request an absentee ballot for each election, limiting who could collect and drop off ballots, and further empowering partisan observers during the ballot-counting process.Texas: Texas Democrats successfully blocked the state’s expansive voting bill, known as S.B. 7, in a late-night walkout and are starting a major statewide registration program focused on racially diverse communities. But Republicans in the state have pledged to return in a special session and pass a similar voting bill. S.B. 7 included new restrictions on absentee voting; granted broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers; escalated punishments for mistakes or offenses by election officials; and banned both drive-through voting and 24-hour voting.Other States: Arizona’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that would limit the distribution of mail ballots. The bill, which includes removing voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List if they do not cast a ballot at least once every two years, may be only the first in a series of voting restrictions to be enacted there. Georgia Republicans in March enacted far-reaching new voting laws that limit ballot drop-boxes and make the distribution of water within certain boundaries of a polling station a misdemeanor. And Iowa has imposed new limits, including reducing the period for early voting and in-person voting hours on Election Day.

Restoring the preclearance condition is of considerable symbolic significance, but it offers far less to reformers than the Manchin compromise. It does nothing to address the laws that Republicans have enacted this year. It would do little to protect against election subversion. It does not check Republican efforts outside the South. And it relies on the federal court system, which has a more limited view of the Voting Rights Act than reformers would like.

But unlike H.R. 1, restoring federal preclearance does have the support of Mr. Manchin and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska. Mr. Manchin also seemed willing to embrace a variety of largely unspecified changes that might make preclearance somewhat more amenable to the Republicans, including an objective test to determine whether jurisdictions should be subjected to or relieved from preclearance and limits on the power of the attorney general. It remains doubtful that any changes would attract significant Republican support, but it also remains untested.

A final avenue is an even narrower bill, comprising only provisions that attract bipartisan support. It remains to be seen whether even a single idea falls into this category. But many of the hypothesized proposals for addressing election subversion might have some chance to find Republican support, like reforms to the rules for counting electoral votes, and funding for election administration.

Other potential areas of agreement are a requirement for paper ballots; ballot chain-of-custody requirements; standards for certification of federal elections and establishing voter eligibility; and clarifying whether and when judges or local officials can defy a state legislature.

None of these proposals necessarily advantage either political party. All would have a chance to avoid the central, politicized debate over voter suppression and voting rights.

Realistically, even the most innocuous proposals would have a challenging path to passage. The window for bipartisan cooperation on these issues may have closed several months ago, as memories of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters were supplanted by politically charged fights over voting rights and voter suppression. Republicans have few incentives to support a bill, even if watered down considerably.

Yet all of these new avenues for reformers have something simple in common: They involve an earnest attempt to win 60 votes in the Senate, something that H.R. 1 did not. Many progressives scoff at the idea, but if moderate Democrats can be taken at their word, then reformers never had a choice but to at least try to find Republican support.

Voting rights activists on Tuesday called for a new push to ensure voting rights, and Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader from New York, pledged to keep fighting, calling the Senate vote “the starting gun, not the finish line.”

Perhaps reformers will surprise themselves and pull off a rare legislative win. More likely, their effort will fail and they can hope that their failure will demonstrate the impossibility of bipartisanship to Senate moderates, perhaps reopening the conversation about eliminating the filibuster.

Wherever the effort might end, a more realistic legislative push begins with an earnest effort to write a bill that is more responsive to the current threats to the system and is designed to win enough votes to pass.

Read More
U.S News

U.S. Seizes Iran-Linked Websites at Key Point in Nuclear Talks

Officials seized the domains of about three dozen websites just days after Iran elected a new, hard-line president, and at a critical moment in nuclear negotiations.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration blocked access on Tuesday to several dozen websites linked to Iran, American and Iranian officials said, just as negotiations to bring the United States and Tehran back into an international nuclear accord appeared to be nearing a final decision.

The United States blocked the sites days after Iran held a presidential vote to install Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s former chief judge and close ally of the clerical government’s supreme leader, as its top elected official. The United States has accused Mr. Raisi of human rights abuses, and has imposed sanctions that all but prevent official dealings with him.

Among the websites that were seized was Iran’s state-owned Press TV, which on Tuesday afternoon displayed a red and white banner, in English and Persian, warning that it was the subject of criminal and intelligence investigations. The seals of the F.B.I. and the Commerce Department were also prominently pictured.

In what seems to be a coordinated action, a similar message appears on the websites of Iranian and regional television networks that claims the domains of the websites have been “seized by the United States Government.” pic.twitter.com/JloU56LvpL

— Press TV (@PressTV)

June 22, 2021

Also seized were websites for Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen and satellite and TV news channels that are dedicated to reports from the holy Shiite city of Karbala, Iraq, according to the Iranian news media.

One U.S. national security official said the websites, about three dozen in all, were linked to disinformation efforts by Iran and other groups backed by Tehran. A few involved terrorist organizations that targeted coalition forces stationed overseas, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the operation before it was announced.

The spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, Shahrokh Nazemi, said the United States was trying to muzzle free speech.

“While rejecting this illegal and bullying action, which is an attempt at limiting the freedom of expression, the issue will be pursued through legal channels,” Mr. Nazemi said.

The semiofficial Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, accused the American government on Tuesday of targeting websites that belonged to the so-called axis of resistance — how Tehran and its allies describe proxy militia groups in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria that receive training and funding from Iran.

American officials also seized Fars’s website in 2018, when it was registered as a .com domain. The news agency switched to an Iranian domain of .ir and was back online soon afterward — a strategy that Press TV said on Tuesday that it would follow.

Amir Rashidi, the director of digital rights and security at Miaan Group and an expert on Iranian technology, likened the security action to “a game of whack-a-mole — you close this domain, they open another and there is nothing they can do.”

“The way to combat disinformation is information and strengthening independent journalism, giving the population internet access,” Mr. Rashidi said.

It was unclear how the security operation might affect the nuclear negotiations, which have been underway in Vienna since April.

Diplomats from the world powers that are trying to revive the accord said after meetings in Vienna on Sunday that the talks were making some progress, with the top Russian negotiator, Mikhail Ulyanov, even predicting a possible breakthrough by mid-July. The negotiators were to return to their capitals this week to brief their governments on the latest developments.

American and Iranian officials are not negotiating directly, leaving it to diplomats from Europe, China and Russia to serve as intermediaries in the talks, which are aimed at bringing the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord that the United States left three years later on the orders of President Donald J. Trump.

President Biden has said that rejoining the nuclear agreement is one of his top foreign policy priorities, although his aides have largely downplayed any certainty that a deal will be struck.

After the Trump administration withdrew from the accord, it issued a raft of powerful financial sanctions that have deeply bruised Iran’s economy, in an attempt to force Tehran to negotiate a new deal that would also curb its ballistic missile programs and proxy militias across the Middle East.

Instead, Iran has steadily increased its production of enriched uranium, the fuel that is necessary to make a nuclear weapon, far beyond the limits set by the 2015 accord. That has alarmed world powers and international inspectors who urgently want to bring Iran back into compliance — requiring the United States to lift at least some of its sanctions.

The negotiations largely have been hung up on which American sanctions will be removed. The Biden administration also has vowed that the deal will serve as a platform for new talks focused on Iran’s missiles and militias programs — a proposal that Mr. Raisi has already rejected.

Some officials believe that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will agree to the nuclear deal before Mr. Raisi is inaugurated in early August. That would protect Mr. Raisi from any domestic backlash for dealing with the United States — especially if the sanctions relief does not immediately bolster Iran’s economy.

Read More
U.S News

Republicans Block Voting Rights Bill, Dealing Blow to Biden and Democrats

All 50 G.O.P. senators opposed the sweeping elections overhaul, leaving a long-shot bid to eliminate the filibuster as Democrats’ best remaining hope to enact legal changes.,All 50 G.O.P. senators opposed the sweeping elections overhaul, leaving a long-shot bid to eliminate the filibuster as Democrats’ best remaining hope to enact legal changes.

Read More
U.S News

Sanders signals openness to adjusting SALT cap

The cap primarily increases the tax bills of higher-income residents of high-tax states like New York and California.,The cap primarily increases the tax bills of higher-income residents of high-tax states like New York and California.

Read More
U.S News

U.S. to Allow Some Asylum Seekers Rejected Under Trump to Reopen Cases

The move could provide tens of thousands of people enrolled in a program that sent applicants to wait in Mexico a way to return to the United States to pursue their claims again.,The move could provide tens of thousands of people enrolled in a program that sent applicants to wait in Mexico a way to return to the United States to pursue their claims again.

Read More
U.S News

Sanders signals openness to adjusting SALT cap

The cap primarily increases the tax bills of higher-income residents of high-tax states like New York and California.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Sanders signals openness to adjusting SALT cap to retain key votes as he maneuvers to pass Biden’s agenda.

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, signaled an openness to adjusting the cap on how much taxpayers can deduct in state and local taxes.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

June 22, 2021, 9:31 p.m. ET

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent in charge of the powerful Senate Budget Committee, signaled on Tuesday an openness to adjusting the cap on how much taxpayers can deduct in state and local taxes as he seeks to secure the support of nearly every Democrat in Congress for a multitrillion-dollar economic package.

Some congressional Democrats have warned that they may not support any changes to the tax code that do not also address that provision, put in place during the Trump administration, because of the impact on their constituents.

A draft budget document circulated by staff members on Capitol Hill and obtained by The New York Times included money to address the cap, which primarily increases the tax bills of higher-income residents of high-tax states like New York and California. The funding was not included in Mr. Biden’s original proposals and could amount to a partial repeal of the cap for some taxpayers.

“I have a problem with extremely wealthy people being able to get the complete deduction,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview, though he did not comment on specific details. “I think that’s an issue we’ll have to work on.”

Democrats have begun to move forward to pass some, if not all, of Mr. Biden’s economic agenda through the fast-track budget reconciliation process in order to bypass a Republican filibuster in the Senate. But the openness from Mr. Sanders underscored the breadth of compromises that rank-and-file lawmakers may have to accept to secure the necessary support of all 50 senators who caucus with Democrats and nearly every House Democrat.

Mr. Sanders, who has pushed for as much as $6 trillion in spending should bipartisan negotiations on a narrower infrastructure package collapse, said he had asked Democrats on his committee to outline their priorities as he moves to build consensus around an outline.

“OK, look, what do you think? What kind of numbers you’re comfortable with? And where would you like to cut back?” Mr. Sanders said as he described his approach. “We haven’t heard a lot about the cutting back.”

But he acknowledged the challenge in such maneuvers even as he pushes for various liberal priorities, including expanding Medicare benefits and eligibility and more spending. “We’re going to have to make sure that we end up with numbers that 50 members can agree on,” he said.

Mr. Sanders said he had not yet received a commitment from every senator for a $6 trillion package, even as he warned that a bipartisan infrastructure agreement would clear the Senate only with the promise that every Democrat would also support a reconciliation package.

“We’re going to have to work hard, and, you know, make some trade-offs, and so forth and so on,” he said. “I am more than willing to speak to every member and hear what they have to say.”

Biden’s 2022 Budget

A new year, a new budget: The 2022 fiscal year for the federal government begins on October 1, and President Biden has revealed what he’d like to spend, starting then. But any spending requires approval from both chambers of Congress.Ambitious total spending: President Biden would like the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. That would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion through the next decade.Infrastructure plan: The budget outlines the president’s desired first year of investment in his American Jobs Plan, which seeks to fund improvements to roads, bridges, public transit and more with a total of $2.3 billion over eight years.Families plan: The budget also addresses the other major spending proposal Biden has already rolled out, his American Families Plan, aimed at bolstering the United States’ social safety net by expanding access to education, reducing the cost of child care and supporting women in the work force.Mandatory programs: As usual, mandatory spending on programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare make up a significant portion of the proposed budget. They are growing as America’s population ages.Discretionary spending: Funding for the individual budgets of the agencies and programs under the executive branch would reach around $1.5 trillion in 2022, a 16 percent increase from the previous budget.How Biden would pay for it: The president would largely fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners, which would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said tax increases would fully offset the jobs and families plans over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up. In the meantime, the budget deficit would remain above $1.3 trillion each year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, were expected to meet with White House officials Tuesday evening to discuss both bipartisan talks and the reconciliation process.

Among those expected to attend the meeting, according to an official familiar with the plans, were Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser to Mr. Biden; Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs; Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser.

The meeting comes after a series of lengthy huddles on Tuesday between a bipartisan group of centrist senators and White House officials. Those talks, spearheaded by Senators Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, are expected to continue Wednesday.

Read More