WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Top Democrats abruptly postponed an expected House vote Friday on President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion Build Back Better domestic policy package.
In a bid to hand the president a needed victory, leaders prepared to try pushing an accompanying $1 trillion package of road and other infrastructure projects through the chamber and to his desk.
The delay on one of the votes comes after months of negotiations between Democrats and criticism by Republicans who oppose the bills.
Democrats made late-night adjustments to the social and environment bill Thursday by adding back paid family leave, work permits for immigrants, and changes to state and local tax deductions. The changes also prioritize the repeal of the so-called SALT deduction cap to prevent the super-wealthy from benefiting. Under the revised plan, the $10,000 deduction cap would be lifted to $80,000 for nine years, starting with the 2021 tax year.
The package would also support lower prescription drug costs, limiting the price of insulin to $35 a dose, and for the first time, Medicare would be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for prices of some other drugs, a long-sought Democratic priority.
Medicare would have a new hearing aid benefit for older Americans, and those with Medicare Part D would see their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs capped at $2,000.
The package would provide some $555 billion in tax breaks encouraging cleaner energy and electric vehicles, the nation’s largest commitment to tackling climate change.
Much of the package’s cost would be covered with higher taxes on wealthier Americans, those earning more than $400,000 a year, and a 5% surtax would be added on those making over $10 million annually. Large corporations would face a new 15% minimum tax in an effort to stop big businesses from claiming so many deductions that they end up paying zero in taxes.
Both the paid family leave and the immigration law changes have drawn resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, whose support remains crucial in the 50-50 Senate, where Biden has no votes to spare.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.