House panels begin drafting $ 3.5 trillion social policy and climate bill

On Thursday, five House committees will begin formally drafting their far-reaching social policy and climate change bills from the Democ...


On Thursday, five House committees will begin formally drafting their far-reaching social policy and climate change bills from the Democrats, which would spend as much as $ 3.5 trillion over the next decade – and increase by as much as $ 3.5 trillion over the next decade. ‘taxes and other sources of revenue – to rebuild the social safety net and move the country away from fossil fuels.

The products of the drafting sessions, which could take several arduous days, are due to be incorporated into a final bill later this fall that could be one of the most important steps to reach the House floor in decades.

“What I want people to know is that this bill is for you,” California Democrat President Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday. “If you are a woman with children at home and want to return to the workforce; if you have disabled people at home and in home care; if your children are small and you want universal kindergarten; children learn, parents win; if someone in your family is sick and you need paid family and medical leave; the list goes on. “

Democrats plan to pass the legislation using a process known as reconciliation, which protects tax measures from obstructions and allows them to pass a simple majority if they adhere to strict rules. The maneuver leaves little room for the party for defections given its low margins of control in Congress.

Republicans are united against the emerging bill, and corporate and wealthy lobbyists are also deployed against it. They only have to remove three or four Democrats from the House – or a single Democrat from the Senate – to reduce the effort.

“This week, as Democrats attempt to push forward their reckless $ 3.5 trillion tax and spending agenda, let us not forget that American families and Main Street businesses will bear the brunt of these tax hikes. ‘devastating tax,’ Republicans said on House Ways. and the Committee on Means, which will begin to draft its heavy part of the bill on Thursday, Friday and next week.

The panel will start on the spending side this week before moving on next week to the more difficult task of tax increases to pay them off. Among the items on its voluminous agenda: providing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; expanding tax credits to pay for child care and senior care costs; increase the salaries of educators; require employers to automatically enroll employees in individual retirement accounts or 401 (k) plans; and extending Medicare coverage to include dental, vision and hearing benefits.

The part of the Education and Labor Committee bill, also under consideration on Thursday, would make preschool universal for 3- and 4-year-olds; fund two years of community college tuition-free and increase the value of Pell Grants; provide money to rebuild and modernize school buildings; expand vocational training programs; and expand strengthened infant nutrition programs in emergencies during the pandemic.

The Natural Resources Committee, which has partial jurisdiction over climate change programs, will attempt to raise fees for fossil fuel companies that explore and drill on public lands and waters; develop the rental of offshore sites for wind energy; spend up to $ 3.5 billion on a new civil and tribal climate body; and increase funding for forest firefighting, climate resilience and adaptation to a warmer planet.

Smaller parts of the bill will be drafted by the science and small business committees.

Senate Democrats, who are expected to skip the public drafting phase, have met behind closed doors to try to craft their version of the bill and present it directly.

They plan to submit a proposal to the Senate’s top enforcement official on Friday that would legalize several groups of undocumented immigrants, including those who were brought into the country without permission as children. It is up to the parliamentarian to determine whether specific measures can, according to Senate rules, be included in the final bill, which is supposed to be limited to policies directly affecting state revenues.

Emily cochrane contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: House panels begin drafting $ 3.5 trillion social policy and climate bill
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