Legislation

Josh Gottheimer lashes out against Democrat Party ‘far-left faction’

Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, a leader of the moderates, said in a statement it was ‘deeply regrettable’ that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke her commitment to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill, claiming ‘a small far-left faction’ of the House blocked the vote.

Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, has clashed with those in the ‘progressive’ wing of the party over the two huge pieces of legislation Democrats are hoping to pass. 

Gottheimer urged Democrats to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal right away and then proceed to focus on the$3.5 trillion reconciliation bill separately. 

Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, a leader of the moderates, said in a statement it was 'deeply regrettable' that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke her commitment to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill claiming 'a small far left faction' of the House blocked the vote

Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, a leader of the moderates, said in a statement it was ‘deeply regrettable’ that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke her commitment to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill claiming ‘a small far left faction’ of the House blocked the vote

Hours later, Gottheimer put out a statement slamming 'this far left faction' accusing them of 'putting civility and bipartisan governing at risk.'

Hours later, Gottheimer put out a statement slamming ‘this far left faction’ accusing them of ‘putting civility and bipartisan governing at risk.’

But Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington State is pushing for the two to be linked.

Ultimately the infrastructure bill vote has been delayed. Jayapal blamed ‘conservative Democrats’ saying they were in the way of the president’s agenda.

Hours later, Gottheimer put out a statement slamming ‘this far left faction’ accusing them of ‘putting civility and bipartisan governing at risk.’

‘I’ve been working around-the-clock to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, legislation we helped craft back in April with my Senate colleagues,’ Gottheimer said in a statement Friday. ‘But a small far-left faction of the House of Representatives undermined that agreement and blocked a critical vote on the President’s historic bipartisan infrastructure bill.’ 

Gottheimer’s statement also saw him take a swipe at Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying it’s ‘regrettable’ she ‘breached her firm, public commitment’ to have a vote on the infrastructure bill by last Monday, September 27. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus

Different wings of the Democratic Party revealed the turmoil behind the scenes, as Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the two bills should be combined while Rep. Josh Gottheimer, progressive Democrats were placing President Biden’s entire agenda along with ‘civility and bipartisan governing at risk.’

In a rare visit to the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden tried on Friday to end the fight between the moderate and progressive wings of his Democratic Party that threatened to torpedo his domestic agenda.

Faced with a moderate faction that wanted an immediate vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a progressive arm that wanted to wait until there was agreement on a sweeping $3.5 trillion bill to bolster social spending and fight climate change, Biden sought to split the difference.

The former senator told his caucus during a 40-minute meeting that they could delay a vote on the smaller bill and sharply scale back the larger one to around $2 trillion. But his message that there was no rush belied the fact that Congress faces multiple approaching critical deadlines.

In a rare visit to the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden tried on Friday to end the fight between the moderate and progressive wings of his Democratic Party that threatened to torpedo his domestic agenda

In a rare visit to the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden tried on Friday to end the fight between the moderate and progressive wings of his Democratic Party that threatened to torpedo his domestic agenda

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi watches after the president met with Democratic lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol to promote his bipartisan infrastructure bill

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi watches after the president met with Democratic lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol to promote his bipartisan infrastructure bill

‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six minutes, six days or in six weeks. We’re going to get it done,’ Biden said.      

The delay comes at a bad time for Congress, which has a lot of work ahead in the next few weeks.

The Treasury Department estimates that it has until about October 18 for the government’s $28.4 trillion borrowing limit to be raised by Congress or risk a debt default with potentially catastrophic economic consequences. Then on December 3, the nation faces the risk of a government shutdown that could be politically damaging for Democrats.

By early next year, attention will focus on the midterm elections in November 2022, where history favors Republicans’ chances of recapturing a majority in Congress.

House Democrats confirmed late Friday there would be no vote on the infrastructure bill that day.

The most vocal opponents to the proposed $3.5 trillion size of the social and climate bill are moderate Senate Republicans Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, either of whom has the ability to prevent a bill from passing.

President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talk in a basement hallway of the Capitol after meeting with House Democrats to rescue his his $3.5 trillion government overhaul and salvage a related public works bill, in Washington on Friday

President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talk in a basement hallway of the Capitol after meeting with House Democrats to rescue his his $3.5 trillion government overhaul and salvage a related public works bill, in Washington on Friday

With the Senate divided 50-50 between the parties, Democrats hold the majority by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking votes. They aim to pass the larger bill without Republican support using a maneuver called ‘budgetary reconciliation.’

House progressives acknowledged after the meeting with Biden that the $3.5 trillion number would need to be scaled back, though Biden agreed to their demand of passing the two bills in lock-step. Progressives fear that passing the smaller bill first would doom the larger one’s chances.

‘We’re going to have to come down on our number,’ said Representative Pramila Jayapal, the influential chair of the 95-member Congressional Progressive Caucus.

But progressive Representative Jamie Raskin suggested there were ways to cut the bill’s price tag while preserving many of the programs Democrats want to include. The sweeping bill was to provide funding for universal preschool for all Americans, affordable housing and making homes more energy efficient.

‘Maybe not everything can be funded for 10 years; maybe it’s going to be a lesser period of time,’ Raskin said. ‘At least we’ll be able to develop these programs and make a commitment to the American people. Then we’ll be able to make a judgment after four years or five years about the programs and whether they are working.’

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema

Republicans are united against the larger bill, and Senate Democratic moderates Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona refused to support $3.5 trillion in new spending, meaning the bill could not pass the Senate

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had previously committed to moderates to vote on the infrastructure bill this week. She repeated those commitments on Thursday and Friday, but in the end her team canceled the vote.

In a letter to Democratic colleagues late on Friday, Pelosi said ‘great progress’ had been made in negotiations on the social spending and climate bill but ‘more time is needed.’

She said the infrastructure legislation will pass once there is an agreement on the larger bill.

House Republicans are unlikely to help pass the infrastructure bill, eager to deny Biden a policy victory ahead of the midterms.

Even as they wrangle over Biden’s agenda, Democrats face the fast-approaching debt ceiling deadline.

Republicans want no part of the debt limit increase, saying it is Democrats’ problem since they control Congress and the White House. Democrats note that about $5 trillion of the nation’s debt is the result of tax cuts and spending passed during Republican Donald Trump’s presidency.

The House approved a bill late on Wednesday suspending the debt limit through December 2022. The Senate could vote on it ‘as early as next week,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, but Republicans are expected to block it again as they have twice before.

BIDEN’S $3.5T BUILD BACK BETTER PLAN: WHAT’S IN THE 2,465-PAGE BILL AND HOW THE DEMOCRATS WILL PAY FOR IT 

The text of the Build Back Better Act, released by Democrats on the House Budget Committee over the weekend, for the first time reveals how President Biden’s allies plan to spend a whopping $3.5 trillion.

Critics have already seized on one of its most controversial measures: An extra $79 billion for the Internal Revenue Service over the next decade to expand audits and strengthen enforcement.

There are also a number of welfare, social and climate provisions contained in the 2,465 page bill that have led to opposition from moderates in the Democratic party and Republicans. 

Two free years of community college

The legislation provides two years of free community college for all students. The anticipated to cost $108 billion.

The bill would also add $80 billion in funding for Pell Grants for families with a total income of up to $50,000 which Democrats say hasn’t kept pace with the increasing cost of college.

Climate change

The plan includes $3 billion for ‘tree equity’, $12 billion for electric cars, $1 billion more to turn government facilities into ‘high-performance green buildings’ and millions more for gender identity and bias training.

The legislation would also spend billions of dollars to tackle climate change, including President Biden’s proposed ‘Climate Change Corps.’ It would get $7.5 billion for conservation work on public lands.

Government training 

Race and gender-based issues come with smaller spending, but will likely raise hackles among Republicans and moderate Democrats.

The bill includes $25 billion for non-profits to provide ‘anti-discrimination and bias training’ in health care.

Extended child tax credit

Democrats expanded the child tax credit for 2021 in their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, and now want to extend it through 2025.

Under the enhancement, families receive $3,600 per child under age 6, and $3,000 per child age 6 to 18. Most families receive monthly payments of either $250 or $300 per child.

The full expanded child tax credit is available to individuals making up to $75,000 or married couples making up to $150,000, 

Tax cuts for workers without children

The White House says roughly 17 million low-wage workers will benefit from the increase in the Earned-Income tax credit from $543 to $1,502. 

Paid family medical leave

U.S. would have comprehensive paid leave, covering 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. The legislation would replace at least two-thirds of earnings, up to $4,000 per month, while the lowest-paid workers would receive 80 percent of their income.

Child care and universal pre-K

Every family that applies shall be offered child care assistance for children ages 0 to 5. In all, the plan allocates roughly $450 billion to lower the cost of child care and provide two years of universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, according to the House Education and Labor Committee.

The panel estimated that this proposal would keep the cost of child care at or below 7 per cent of most families’ income.

Medicare expansion

This heavily debated provision would expand Medicare to include coverage of dental, hearing and vision services. 

Cut prescription drug prices

Another key part of the bill is aimed at helping to slash prescription drug prices. 

Americans on average pay two to three times as much as people in other countries for prescription drugs, according to the White House.

The administration will lower drug costs by letting Medicare negotiate prices and removing the impact of pharmaceutical companies. 

How the Biden administration plans to pay for it

Democrats have included tax plan to pay for the huge bill, that mainly targets the rich.

The corporate tax rate would rise from 21 per cent to 26 percent, and the top income tax rate for Americans making over $400,000 would increase from 37 per cent to 39.6 percent. The top capital gains rate would also go from 20 percent to 25 percent.

Biden has promised he won’t raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000, but Republicans insist that simply won’t happen. 

Democrats are also looking to spend $79billion in additional funding to bulk up IRS enforcement and try and crack down on tax avoiders.

This includes a plan that banks will be have to report transactions over $600 to the IRS. 

This crackdown on unreported income is expected to generate $463 billion over the next decade, according to the Office of Tax Analysis. That money would be used to partially fund Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the tax changes spearheaded by Democrats would raise more than $2 trillion in revenue over 10 years, with roughly $1 trillion in tax increases from high-income Americans and nearly $1 trillion from corporate and international tax reforms.

How much will it really cost?

The White House has suggested that the huge spending plan will cost ‘zero dollars’.

But an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) found the proposals in the agenda would require the US to directly borrow $1 trillion, projecting that nearly $3 trillion would be added to the national debt over the next 10 years.

The former measure, which passed the Senate in August, would only offset its own costs by about $200 billion according to the CRFB. That leaves $350 billion to be paid.    

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