Portions of Biden Bill Could Pass in 2022; GOP Takeover of House Looks More Likely After Key Resignations
Author: Greg Valliere
December 21, 2021
A DIFFERENT APPROACH: It never seemed likely that a massive social spending bill, poorly understood by the public and filled with accounting gimmicks, would win enactment this year — but there’s another path in 2022.
SEPARATE BILLS WILL EMERGE: Rather than push again for a $2 trillion-plus behemoth, Democrats may break up the bill — Manchin could accept an environmental package (without major new methane curbs or big subsidies for purchasing electric vehicles). And Manchin definitely could accept money for pre-kindergarten education and some expansion of Obamacare.
MOST SIGNIFICANTLY, MANCHIN COULD ACCEPT A SEPARATE TAX BILL that would kill most of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, although re-writing much of the tax code in an election year would be a heavy lift — especially since Sen. Kyrsten Sinema opposes any rate increases for corporations or individuals.
A CONTINUATION OF THE EXPANDED CHILD TAX BREAK is a non-starter for Manchin, infuriating progressives, but it’s important to note that this tax break won’t die — it will just revert back to pre-2021 levels. Manchin also is adamant in opposing a paid family leave plan and other elements of Joe Biden’s BBB bill.
BUT THERE’S ENOUGH AREAS OF AGREEMENT that Manchin and Biden could accept a handful of separate bills, with a ten-year pricetag of about $1.5 trillion. Progressives and many White House staffers are so angry with Manchin that it could take another few months to get new bills on a path toward enactment by late spring.
IN THE MEANTIME, BIDEN FACES AN ENORMOUS CHALLENGE — mobilizing the public for one more fight against Covid. In a speech this afternoon, Biden will propose more testing and funds for hospitals, but the policy cupboard is nearly bare, and in much of Middle America the public is tuning out calls for more vaccinations.
EVEN DONALD TRUMP got backlash, as some people in an audience of his adoring supporters booed recently when Trump said he has gotten a booster shot. And Biden’s gaffe-prone vice president, Kamala Harris, said over the weekend that “we didn’t see delta coming … we didn’t see omicron coming.” Health experts have warned for months about the emergence of new variants but Covid fatigue is now rampant.
WE AGREE WITH MANY HEALTH CARE EXPERTS who think the omicron variant will peak later this winter, but the damage to the economy — and Biden — will persist into the spring. The antidote for many Democrats will be to get things done, so we’ll take a contrarian stance — Joe Manchin wants to negotiate, and many of the provisions in the BBB bill still have a chance of enactment.
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THE LIKELIHOOD OF A GOP TAKEOVER OF THE HOUSE next fall has increased after yesterday’s announcement by a key moderate that she’s retiring, and the announcement of a veteran Democrat that she also will be leaving.
THE GOP NEEDS ONLY three or four seats to recapture the House, and we think the Republicans are headed for a pickup in the 15-25 seat range.
KEY MODERATE REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY announced that she won’t run again, and her Florida House seat now looks vulnerable. Murphy said she wants to spend more time with her family. And longtime Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), 80, said she will not seek re-election in 2022.
ROYBAL-ALLARD’S California seat is safe but Democrats now have 23 members who are not seeking re-election, a sure sign that they don’t want to serve in a House in 2023 with Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
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