Electric cars, drug costs and more: 5 battles Democrats could be losing on their marquee bill

Electric cars, drug costs and more: 5 battles Democrats could be losing on their marquee bill

But Senate Chair for Finance Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose panel has overseen the drafting of large swathes of the bill, said it is not concerned with the unresolved policy issues or rushed schedule.

“We’ve been preparing for this … for about a year and a half. We went out and recruited people like they were basketball stars because they’re so good at how to successfully run this extraordinary procedural gantlet,” said Wyden, himself a former college hoop player.

The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office released an official estimate Wednesday that the Democrats’ overall bill, as currently written, would reduce deficits by about $101.5 billion over a decade, excluding the provisions that IRS enforcement requires strengthen. With these measures, the deficit reduction would amount to $305 billion, the CBO said.

Of course, the bill may not stay intact as Democrats battle to finalize it this week. Here are five provisions that may need to be removed or changed under Senate budget rules:

cap on insulin costs

Democrats are planning a major addition to their larger legislation: a $35-per-month cap on what people can pay out-of-pocket for insulin. You know full well that Republicans could easily fail; The measure raises an obvious red flag under fiscal rules as it may target drug company finances more than government coffers.

Under Senate rules, every part of the Democrats’ bill must have a significant impact on federal spending, revenue, and debt. Democrats must show that any proposed policy changes still primarily affect the federal budget and are not just a “side effect.”

Sen. Richard Burr (RN.C.), the top Republican on the Senate HELP committee, said Wednesday that insulin supply would entail a GOP challenge.

Savings on prescription drugs

The bipartisan Senate arbiter has spent more than a week reviewing Democrats’ drug pricing plans. While provisions that would allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of higher drugs appear more likely to hold, a major hurdle is the Democrats’ push to penalize drug companies if they raise prices for people with private health insurance.

The savings generated by this mandate involving the private insurance market could be seen as a side effect of the budget rather than the main purpose of the policy, in violation of Senate budget rules. Some budget experts suspect the measure has a chance of surviving but warn nobody has a crystal ball when it comes to the MP.

Restrictions on loans for electric cars

Some of the new terms of the $7,500 EV purchase tax credit bill could also come under scrutiny. Under the current proposal, a car will only be eligible for full credit if the batteries are made with materials from the US or countries that have trade agreements with the US

The requirements should meet Sen. Joe Manchins (DW.Va.) fears that the electric vehicle industry is over-relying on China. But these conditions could again raise the question of whether or not the policies created outweigh their impact on the federal budget.

Lease of public land for energy production

Another provision Democrats may need to revise is the requirement that the Home Department auction at least 2 million acres of land for onshore oil and gas leases within a year before allowing solar and wind projects on public land.

Opponents of the proposal argue that its political implications outweigh its budgetary implications because it makes solar and wind power development on state lands conditional on oil producer leases.

Tightening of a tax loophole

Democrats want to close a loophole that allows wealthy private equity and hedge fund managers to pay less in taxes, the so-called carried interest provision. But Arizona Sen. Christmas cinemathe only Democrat not yet to sign the bill is seeking to remove that carried-interest shrinkage as she weighs whether to support the entire package.

Before Democrats can pass their bill with a simple majority, senators must survive a nightly marathon of amendments known as “vote-a-rama.” During that time, Republicans could propose an amendment that would hit carried-interest language — and given the 50-50 Senate would likely be successful in removing it as long as Sinema is on their side.

“We looked at that in every way,” Wyden said when asked about possible changes to win Sinema’s vote. “And however you look at it, we’re saying that something needs to change when you have multi-billion dollar companies that pay lower tax rates than nurses and firefighters.”

Josh Siegel contributed to this report.

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