National paid family and medical leave reportedly cut from US reconciliation package – as it happened

a month ago

National paid family and medical leave reportedly cut from US reconciliation package – as it happened

The Guardian

Today's politics recap

  • Democrats’ proposal to establish a national paid family and medical leave program has likely been cut from the reconciliation package, according to multiple reports. If the proposal is eliminated, it will almost certainly outrage advocates who have noted that the US woefully trails its peer nations when it comes to providing paid leave to its citizens.
  • Centrist Senator Joe Manchin voiced criticism of Democrats’ proposed tax on billionaires to help pay for the reconciliation package. “I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin said of the proposal, which would impact only 700 US taxpayers.
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are “within arm’s length” of a deal on the reconciliation package. “We are hopeful that we can come to a framework agreement by the end of today,” the Democratic leader said this morning. But as Manchin’s comments demonstrate, there are several important outstanding issues about what to include in the bill and how to pay for it.
  • House speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a rules committee hearing tomorrow to discuss the Build Back Better agenda. The hearing seems to be Pelosi’s attempt to advance the negotiations, as Democrats look to finalize the deal before Joe Biden leaves for Europe tomorrow.

– Joan E Greve

Updated

The standoff over whether to include the paid leave provision in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill continues...

Alex Bolton of the Hill reports that Patty Murray, a Democratic senator of Washington, has convinced West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to reconsider his hard stance against including the paid family and medical leave.

The US is the only rich country, and one of only six countries in the world without any form of national paid leave.

Updated

Iran says it will resume nuclear negotiations by end of November

Iran has said it will return to talks with world powers aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal by the end of November, the first time it has set a date for the resumption of the long delayed talks.

Iran’s new nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani broke the news on Twitter on Wednesday after holding talks with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

“Had a very serious & constructive dialogue with @enriquemora_ on the essential elements for successful negotiations. We agree to start negotiations before the end of November,” he wrote after meeting EU officials in Brussels.

He added: “Exact date would be announced in the course of the next week.”

The Vienna talks broke off in June at the time of the Iranian presidential elections.

Read more:

Progressive representative Pramila Jayapal said there are more than 40 Congressional Progressive Caucus members who will only approve the bipartisan infrastructure bill in tandem with the social infrastructure reconciliation package.

With negotiations ongoing, and time crunched, she said members are likely to accept a House vote on the bill before the Senate voting on it first, my colleague Lauren Gambino reports fromo DC:

“After talking to the president, I believe that if all the senators are agreeing to not change the bill from what we pass in the House, that we should take the president’s word that he’s got that commitment, and so we’re willing to do that,” Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters.

These Trump fans were at the Capitol on 6 January. Now they’re running for office

One of the candidates filmed himself on the Capitol steps. Another clambered over scaffolding and waved others forward towards the building. Still more were outside, milling around and protesting against the lawful election of Joe Biden.

Of the thousands of diehard Trump supporters who gathered in Washington on 6 January, some are now beginning to emerge as Republican candidates for national and local office.

The electoral chances of each person vary, but they add to the extremist political landscape, ahead of midterm elections in 2022 that could potentially see Democrats lose the House of Representatives.

Read more:

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Democrats’ proposal to establish a national paid family and medical leave program has been cut from the reconciliation package, according to multiple reports. If the proposal is eliminated, it will almost certainly outrage advocates who have noted that the US woefully trails its peer nations when it comes to providing paid leave to its citizens.
  • Centrist Senator Joe Manchin voiced criticism of Democrats’ proposed tax on billionaires to help pay for the reconciliation package. “I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin said of the proposal, which would impact only 700 US taxpayers.
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are “within arm’s length” of a deal on the reconciliation package. “We are hopeful that we can come to a framework agreement by the end of today,” the Democratic leader said this morning. But as Manchin’s comments demonstrate, there are several important outstanding issues about what to include in the bill and how to pay for it.
  • House speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a rules committee hearing tomorrow to discuss the Build Back Better agenda. The hearing seems to be Pelosi’s attempt to advance the negotiations, as Democrats look to finalize the deal before Joe Biden leaves for Europe tomorrow.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Paid leave program cut from reconciliation package - reports

Joe Biden’s proposal to establish a national paid family and medical leave program has reportedly been cut from Democrats’ reconciliation package.

The Washington Post reports:

Democrats appeared on the verge of clinching more than $500 billion in new money to combat climate change, even as they continued to hammer out some of the specifics. Some felt they were also close to a temporary program to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income Americans. Even before Wednesday, the party had neared consensus over a slew of other programs to aid families, including expanded tax credits for parents and new, free and universal prekindergarten for their children.

But the prospects of a deal also forced Democrats to begin to accept difficult trade-offs, as many initiatives were scaled back or jettisoned as a result of demands from [centrist holdouts Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema]. That included a promise to provide paid family and medical leave to millions of Americans, which appeared to fall out of the bill entirely, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to describe the talks. They noted negotiations remain ongoing.

As I reported back in May, the US trails its peer nations in providing paid leave to its citizens. The US is the only high-wealth country without guaranteed paid maternity leave, and it is one of just two such nations without a paid sick leave guarantee.

Here is my report from May about paid leave advocates demanding change at the national level:

Senate finance committee chair Ron Wyden insisted the proposed billionaire tax in the reconciliation package is not dead (or not dead yet at least).

There had been suggestions that the proposal had already been eliminated due to criticism from Senator Joe Manchin and concerns from House Democrats about how to craft the proposal at this late stage of negotiations.

But Wyden told reporters that the tax is still a possibility, and there will be a briefing on the proposal tonight for Democratic staffers, per Punchbowl News.

A Wall Street Journal reporter spotted Senate budget committee chairman Bernie Sanders leaving the White House after meeting with Joe Biden to discuss the reconciliation package.

Sanders’ meeting with Biden comes amid discussions about eliminating the proposed tax on billionaires in the bill due to criticism from Senator Joe Manchin.

Asked about the negotiations earlier today, Sanders told NBC News, “Every sensible revenue option seems to be destroyed.”

The people shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August cannot be referred to as “victims” by prosecutors in court, a judge ruled on Monday.

Defense attorneys may, however, call them “arsonists” or “looters”, the judge said.

“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word. And I think ‘alleged victim’ is a cousin to it,” said Judge Bruce Schroeder on Monday.

“Let the evidence show what the evidence shows. And if the evidence shows that any or more than one of these people were engaged in arson, rioting or looting – then I’m not going to tell the defense they can’t call them that,” he added, ahead of what is expected to be a contentious trial starting next week.

In response to Schroeder’s ruling on Monday, assistant district attorney Thomas Binger said that he was creating a “double standard”, saying: “If I were to count the number of times that you’ve admonished me not to call someone a victim during a trial, it would be in the thousands.”

“The terms that I’m identifying here, such as ‘rioters’, ‘looters’, ‘arsonists’, are as loaded, if not more loaded, than the term ‘victim’,” Binger added.

Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal told reporters that at least three dozen of her members want to see a vote on the reconciliation package before supporting the infrastructure bill.

“And that number is only increasing,” Jayapal said, per Politico.

Jayapal’s comments will likely disappoint House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is urging House Democrats to “have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act” in order to pass the infrastructure bill.

If the House cannot pass the infrastructure bill this week, they will need to approve some kind of short-term spending proposal for highway construction, as those funds are expected to run out at the end of the month.

Pelosi schedules House committee hearing on Build Back Better agenda

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a rules committee hearing tomorrow on Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, as Democrats continue their negotiations over the reconciliation package.

The hearing appears to be Pelosi’s attempt to advance the reconciliation bill negotiations, and the speaker said in a “Dear Colleague” letter that Democrats are “close to agreement on the priorities and the topline of the legislation”.

“At the same time, we are facing a crucial deadline for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass,” Pelosi said in the letter. “To do so, we must have trust and confidence in an agreement for the Build Back Better Act.”

House progressives had previously indicated they would not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the reconciliation package gets a vote as well.

Progressive congresswoman Cori Bush reiterated yesterday that an agreement on the framework of the reconciliation package was insufficient to gain her support on the infrastructure bill.

Huma Abedin does not give clues as to the senator’s party, state or other identifying factors. She does write that she stayed friendly with him and “buried the incident”, erasing it from her mind “entirely”.

However, she also writes that her memory of her experience on the unnamed senator’s couch was triggered in late 2018, when she read about Christine Blasey Ford “being accused of ‘conveniently’ remembering” her alleged sexual assault by the supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an allegation Kavanaugh denied.

Though Kavanaugh became a leading symbol of the #MeToo era, in which allegations of sexual misconduct and assault have brought down prominent men, he was confirmed to the court.

In her interview with CBS, Abedin says: “I did go back to a senator’s apartment, a senator who I knew and I was very comfortable with, and he kissed me in a very shocking way because it was somebody who I’d known and frankly trusted.”

The interviewer, Norah O’Donnell, asks: “Are you suggesting that senator assaulted you?”

Abedin pauses, and says: “I’m suggesting that I was in an uncomfortable situation with … I was in an uncomfortable situation with a senator and I didn’t know how to deal with it and I buried the whole experience.

“But in my my own personal opinion, no, did I feel like he was assaulting me in that moment? I didn’t, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like I needed to extricate myself from the situation. And he also spent a lot of time apologising and making sure I was OK and we were actually able to rebalance our relationship.”

Huma Abedin: kiss from unnamed senator wasn't sexual assault

In an interview with CBS, Huma Abedin has discussed the incident in which she says she was kissed, against her will, by an unnamed senator.

The longtime Hillary Clinton aide says she does not think it was a sexual assault.

The Guardian broke news of Abedin’s claim on Tuesday, when it obtained a copy of her new memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, which will be published next week. The CBS interview is due to be broadcast on Sunday.

Huma Abedin.
Huma Abedin. Photograph: Gregory Pace/REX/Shutterstock

Clinton was a senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. In her book, Abedin describes a Washington dinner attended by “a few senators and their aides” but not Clinton, and writes: “I ended up walking out with one of the senators, and soon we stopped in front of his building and he invited me in for coffee. Once inside, he told me to make myself comfortable on the couch.”

She says the senator made coffee, “then, in an instant, it all changed. He plopped down to my right, put his left arm around my shoulder, and kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth, pressing me back on the sofa.

“I was so utterly shocked, I pushed him away. All I wanted was for the last 10 seconds to be erased.”

She writes that the senator apologised and said he had “misread” her “all this time”.

A reporter pressed Jen Psaki on the apparent discrepancy between Democrats’ optimistic tone on the reconciliation negotiations and the remaining disagreements about the bill.

“If we had a deal, as you know, we would be telling you about it,” the White House press secretary said.

“But I think what members of Congress have conveyed to all of you – and leaders in Congress, as well as the White House and the president – is that we are very close.”

The White House is apparently still hoping to reach a deal before Joe Biden leaves for Europe tomorrow, but that is seeming increasingly unlikely.

Updated

Jen Psaki was asked whether the White House is confident that Democrats’ proposed tax on billionaires would withstand legal scrutiny.

“We’re not going to support anything we don’t think is legal,” the White House press secretary said.

She added, “But I will tell you the president supports the billionaire tax. He looks forward to working with Congress and Chairman Wyden to make sure the highest-income Americans pay their fair share.”

Psaki also noted that Democrats are considering a wide range of revenue raisers to help pay for their reconciliation package, including establishing a corporate minimum tax and closing tax loopholes.

A reporter asked Jen Psaki whether the White House still considers it realistic to reach a deal on Democrats’ reconciliation package before Joe Biden leaves for Europe tomorrow.

“Yes,” the White House press secretary said. “We’ll see.”

Psaki emphasized the progress that has been made in recent days, saying there is “broad agreement” among congressional Democrats about investing in the care economy, expanding access to affordable healthcare and addressing the climate crisis.

“It’s only 1:30. We’ve got some time,” Psaki said.

Biden 'remains open to going up to the Hill' for reconciliation talks, Psaki says

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing, and she provided an update on the negotiations over Democrats’ reconciliation package.

The press secretary noted Joe Biden met with centrist Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema last night to discuss the developing framework of the bill, and she said Democrats “continue to make progress” toward a final deal.

She added that some senior White House advisers, including National Economic Council director Brian Deese and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell, were on Capitol Hill today to advance the negotiations.

On whether Biden himself will soon travel to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers, Psaki said, “The president remains open to going up to the Hill. We haven’t made a decision to do that, and we’re making decisions hour by hour on what would be most constructive to move things forward.”

Updated

There’s quite the split-screen happening on Capitol Hill as the negotiations over Democrats’ reconciliation package continue.

After meeting with senior White House officials, centrist Senator Kyrsten Sinema told reporters that Democrats are “doing great” and “making progress” toward a deal, per Fox News.

However, Senate budget committee chairman Bernie Sanders sounded pessimistic about the talks when speaking to NBC News.

“Every sensible revenue option seems to be destroyed,” Sanders said, after centrist Senator Joe Manchin voiced criticism of a proposed tax on billionaires to help pay for the package.

The negotiations continue. Stay tuned.

Updated

Conservative pundit Meghan McCain is taking hits at Republican senator Lindsey Graham on Twitter after the senator denied her claims that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “funeral crashers” at the service of her father, the late John McCain.

“Lindsey Graham may consider himself a member of my family, but he is not and hasn’t been for a very long time. He certainly doesn’t speak for me or my life experiences. Full stop,” McCain wrote on Twitter. “The media should stop treating him like he is an expert on anything McCain related.”

Graham was once a close friend with the late senator but turned into a loyal defender of Donald Trump who for years attacked the late Senator, even after his death.

In previous statements, Graham refuted her claim saying “their presence was approved.”

“She was upset they were there – I understand that, and she has hard feelings but I know what happened and nobody showed up uninvited,” Graham told the Washington Post. According to emails reviewed by the Post, funeral organizers were aware that senior White House aides would be attending the service and were coordinating with Secret Service on security logistics.

The gap in popularity between the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey has narrowed, according to a new Monmouth University poll, though current governor Phil Murphy still maintains a sizable lead over his Republican opponent, Jack Ciattarelli.

Half of registered voters in the poll support Murphy while 39% support Ciattarelli. The gap in popularity has shrunk 3% since August, though Murphy as incumbent still maintains a strong lead, particularly among non-White voters.

If Murphy is reelected next week, he will be the first Democrat re-elected to the governor’s office in five decades.

A 33-year-old single mom from West Virginia. A home healthcare worker from Arizona. Climate activists on hunger strike. An Afghanistan veteran. Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders as well as progressive members of Congress. All gathered at the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday morning to demand Democrats in Congress fulfill their promises to voters on poverty, health care, immigration, minimum wage, climate action and voting rights.

Led by Rev William Barber, the activists implored Democrats to take a bolder stance against senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, two holdouts without whom the Democrats’ social policy and climate change bill will not pass.

“We say that this stuff is absolutely critical,” Barber said. “We say it’s urgent but then we treat it as though we’ve got options and more time but we do not.”

“People die from poverty and low-wages. People die from the lack of housing. People die from the lack of healthcare. People die from the lack of living wages. People die from the climate heating up and us not doing what we ought to do to change it,” the reverend continued. “All of this stuff is man-created, it is not God-ordained. And if we made it like this, we can change it.”

He said members of Congress were being “too cordial” with Manchin and Sinema by rushing to accommodate their every demand instead of pushing them to accept a bigger bill as supported by nearly every other member of the caucus.

“What if some of the Congresspeople went on a hunger strike?” he asked.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California said legislation reflects “our priorities as a country” and that much more had to be done to lift Americans from poverty and prevent catastrophic climate disaster. Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland warned about the threat to American democracy posed by the sweep of voting restrictions in Republican-led states across the country.

“There is an effort to disable the government as a tool of the common good,” he said, urging Congress to prioritize democratic reforms like the filibuster, and protecting voting rights.

So weak from their hunger strike, the climate activists could not stand to speak at the press conference.

Abby, a 20-year-old climate activist, said she dreams of a future where she can live free from fear of flooding and heat waves, where she can build a family with a sense of optimism about the future.

“I am here doing this hunger strike because I would do anything for that future to be real,” she said. Directing her comments to Joe Biden, she implored him to do everything in his power to cut carbon emissions. “My generation deserves to live,” she said.

Barber said he was frustrated that the president and the media were so focused on hearing from Manchin and Sinema, rather than listening to people like Abby. The result, he said, was a debate over a topline figure rather than the poverty-reducing, climate-saving programs that are now at risk of being cut from the legislation.

“This is not about scarcity. This is not about ‘we don’t have enough. I’m so sick of that damn line I don’t know what to do,” Barber said. “The wealthiest nation in the history of the world cannot claim we don’t have enough. What we don’t have enough of is conscience and moral fiber.”

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Centrist Senator Joe Manchin voiced criticism of Democrats’ proposed tax on billionaires to help pay for their reconciliation package. “I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin said of the proposal, which would impact only 700 US taxpayers.
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are “within arm’s length” of a deal on the reconciliation package. “We are hopeful that we can come to a framework agreement by the end of today,” the Democratic leader said this morning. But as Manchin’s comments demonstrate, there are several important outstanding issues about what to include in the bill and how to pay for it.
  • Democrats are hoping to finalize the deal before Joe Biden leaves for Europe tomorrow. The president will fly to Vatican City to meet with Pope Francis, before traveling to Rome for the G20 summit and then Glasgow for the Cop26 climate change conference.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Manchin applauded Joe Biden for his handling of the negotiations over the reconciliation package, which have now dragged on for months.

“He’s trying to meet everybody halfway, and I appreciate that,” the centrist Democratic senator told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Emphasizing that he and Biden are negotiating in good faith when it comes to the reconciliation package, Manchin once again implored House progressives to allow the bipartisan infrastructure bill to pass the lower chamber.

“He is giving everything he has to this. People have to respect that,” Manchin said. “The only we’re asking for is, vote on a piece of legislation that’s already been bipartisan.”

House progressives insist they will not support the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation package gets a vote as well, and their unified stance has blocked the legislation’s passage for weeks.

Progressive congresswoman Cori Bush reiterated that view yesterday, after speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested an agreement on the framework of the reconciliation bill should be enough to trigger a vote on the infrastructure bill.

Centrist Senator Joe Manchin was also asked about a demand from Senate budget committee chair Bernie Sanders that the reconciliation package must expand Medicare to include vision, dental and hearing coverage

Manchin said he is “absolutely concerned” about the national deficit and the long-term health of existing government programs.

“In good conscience, I have hard time increasing basically benefits, which all of us can agree that, hell I’d loved to have this, and love to have that, when you can’t even take care of what you have,” Manchin said.

The West Virginia senator voiced similar concerns about the proposed paid family leave program, arguing the provision does not make fiscal sense.

“To expand social programs when you have trust funds that aren’t solvent, that are going insolvent — I can’t explain that. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Manchin said. “I just can’t do it.”

Manchin voices criticism of proposed billionaire tax: 'I don't like it'

Centrist Senator Joe Manchin has voiced criticism of a proposed tax on billionaires to help pay for Democrats’ reconciliation package.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, the West Virginia senator argued wealthy Americans should pay a “patriotic tax” of 15% to ensure that all citizens are giving something back to their country.

But when it comes to the billionaire tax, Manchin said, “I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people.”

Manchin argued wealthy Americans had “contributed to society and create a lot of jobs and invest a lot of money and give a lot to philanthropic pursuits”.

He added, “But it’s time that we all pull together and grow together.”

If Democrats cannot get the billionaire tax in the reconciliation package, it’s unclear how they will fully pay for the bill, which has been a major selling point for centrist members of the congressional Democratic caucus.

Updated

A deal on reconciliation bill is 'within arm’s length,' Schumer says

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said a deal on Democrats’ reconciliation package is “within arm’s length,” after months of negotiations.

Speaking on the Senate floor, the Democratic leader said the caucus had “another productive day” of talks yesterday, and meetings between lawmakers and Joe Biden will continue today.

“An agreement is within arm’s length, and we are hopeful that we can come to a framework agreement by the end of today,” Schumer said.

The majority leader added, “But we must, we must continue working a little more to make sure it is the best deal possible for the American people.”

Schumer specifically cited strengthening Medicare and lowering prescription drug prices as two issues that Democrats must address in their negotiations.

Those two issues are key priorities for Senate budget committee chairman Bernie Sanders, who has expressed concern about Biden’s comments indicating they will not be addressed in the reconciliation bill.

Updated

According to a summary of Democrats’ proposed billionaire tax, the policy would impact about 700 taxpayers and raise hundreds of billions of dollars.

“Working Americans like nurses and firefighters pay taxes with every paycheck, while billionaires defer paying taxes for decades, if not indefinitely,” reads the summary, which was released by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s office.

“The tax code’s preferences for capital income over wage income fuel the concentration of dynastic wealth among the nation’s billionaires.”

Joe Biden met with centrist Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema last night, the White House confirmed.

A White House official told the press pool, “The President hosted Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema at the White House yesterday to continue their negotiations on the Build Back Better Act, and how we can grow our economy in a way that deals the middle class back in and gives them breathing room.

“The three made progress on top of what has been accomplished in recent days, and look forward to next steps so that we can equip Americans for high-paying jobs, deliver historic investments to make health care and child care more affordable for American families, and take on climate change.”

According to Axios, Manchin and Sinema are now at odds over a proposed billionaire tax to help pay for the reconciliation bill, with Manchin against the idea and Sinema supporting it.

Kyle Vass reports from West Virginia:

The rise of Joe Manchin as a key power player for Democratic policymaking in 2021 is the result of a perfect storm for the US senator from West Virginia.

His position as the Senate’s most conservative Democrat means he often has final say in what his party is able to push through, especially when it comes to Joe Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda on infrastructure, far-reaching social policies and a powerful attempt to tackle the climate crisis.

A drive through West Virginia’s countryside – which is still enthusiastically Donald Trump country – reveals a patchwork of communities battered by the climate crisis and barely held together by deteriorating infrastructure.

Yet Manchin – balking at a $3.5tn price tag of Biden’s reconciliation bill – is busy trying to strip out many of the policies that would try to tackle these crises that are so seriously affecting many of his fellow West Virginians.

Read the Guardian’s full report:

Joe Manchin is throwing another wrench in Democrats’ negotiations over the reconciliation package: the centrist senator has reportedly expressed concern about the proposed billionaire tax to help pay for the legislation.

Axios reports:

The senator’s doubts reveal an uncomfortable truth for the White House and congressional leaders as they race to finish — and pay for — their nearly $2 trillion social spending and climate package: A tax solution designed to satisfy Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) isn’t necessarily acceptable to Manchin.

The billionaire tax gained currency over the weekend because Sinema, a fellow moderate and key negotiator, signaled her opposition to corporate, personal and capital gains tax hikes. Manchin’s potential opposition to the billionaire-tax proposal would blow a $200 billion to $250 billion hole in the Democrats’ plans for new revenues.

Manchin had indicated he was waiting to see the text of the proposal, which was released this morning, before making a decision on the billionaire tax.

But if he vetoes the idea, it could jeopardize Joe Biden’s oft-repeated claim that the bill is fully paid for, which has become a major selling point among the centrist members of the congressional Democratic caucus.

Democrats race to finalize spending package before Cop26

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Joe Biden will leave for Europe tomorrow, and Democrats are racing to reach a deal on their reconciliation package before the president departs.

Democrats have expressed confidence that they are nearing an agreement, but many questions remain over key elements of the bill, including climate initiatives and a national paid family leave program.

A number of progressives have expressed concern about the expected cuts to the climate provisions in the bill, which have been demanded by centrist Senator Joe Manchin.

Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily press briefing.
Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily press briefing. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

If Biden arrives for the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow next week after being unable to pass significant climate legislation in his own country, it could harm his credibility on the world stage.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that Biden would prefer to leave for Europe with a deal in place.

“But it is also important to note that we have made a significant amount of progress and we are almost there,” Psaki added.

“We are all on the verge of passing a bill that is the largest investment in addressing the climate crisis in history. And, of course, global leaders take note of that, too.”

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

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