President Biden on Thursday again urged Congress to pass the $739 billion reconciliation package, vowing that it will “lower” the record-high inflation Americans are facing and cut the deficit as the U.S. grapples with a recession.
During a virtual business roundtable event Thursday, the president again pleaded with Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, saying it has “bipartisan support among people of this country.”
“My message to Congress is this: Listen to the American people,” Biden said. “This is the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation, continue to cut the deficit, reduce health care costs, tackle a climate crisis and promote America’s energy security and reduce the burdens facing working-class and middle-class families.
“Pass it. Get it to my desk. Pass it for the American people. Pass it for businesses and workers. Pass it for America.”
Biden last week admitted the bill is “far from perfect” and a “compromise” that “doesn’t include everything I’ve been pushing for since I got to office.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced last week he reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the bill after more that a year of negotiations among Democrats.
Manchin previously shut down negotiations on the package. But on Wednesday he said they came to a deal for a vastly pared-down version of the original Build Back Better bill that includes tax, climate and prescription drug provisions.
Biden said the bill will “reduce inflationary pressure on the economy” and will “restore fairness to the tax code” by making the largest corporations “pay their fair share.”
The reconciliation package raises revenue by requiring corporations with more than $1 billion in profits to pay at least a 15% tax rate and by enforcing the law so that corporations and high-income individuals pay the taxes they owe. The bill also closes the “carried interest” loophole for investment fund managers with at least $400,000 in income, which a White House official said enables them to pay a significantly lower tax rate than middle-class families.
The White House estimates the 15% corporate tax rate will raise $313 billion over the next decade. A nonpartisan congressional panel, the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimates that nearly 50% of the total will come from American manufacturers.
Biden has stressed, though, that the bill would not impose any new taxes on people making less than $400,000 per year.
Biden said the bill gives Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, locks in place lower health care premiums for families for the next three years and addresses the climate crisis.
“It’s a very simple message: Democrats are getting ready to vote for tax hikes during a recession,” a GOP aide told Fox News. “The sharks are already circling underneath the plank they will walk off.”
The U.S. economy shrank in the spring for the second consecutive quarter, meeting the criteria for a recession as record-high inflation and higher interest rates forced consumers and businesses to pull back on spending.
Democrats are using a process called budget reconciliation to advance the legislation, which allows them to get around the Senate filibuster with just 50 votes. As long as all Democrats avoid catching COVID-19 and are present and able to vote for the bill, they likely have the votes to get the legislation across the finish line.