Schumer Pushing For Drastic Change

Senate Democrats, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

What is this all about?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is attempting to pass a budget reconciliation bill during the Senate’s July and early August work period.

The last-ditch effort could come to fruition as centrist Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Schumer make progress on proposals to extend Medicare solvency, increase taxes for high-income earners, and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Part of the progress includes work on a proposal to impose a 3.8 percent tax on individuals making $400,000 or more and couples making $500,000 or more on pass-through businesses.

The approximately $203 billion raised from this tax will extend the solvency of Medicare’s hospital fund from 2028 to 2031.

Despite the progress, significant issues remain unresolved, with a spokesperson for Manchin, Sam Runyon, dismissing speculation that Manchin and Schumer are closer to reaching an agreement on a comprehensive reconciliation package.
The package would include bold proposals on global warming, a priority for Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

Manchin’s spokesperson said: “Suggestions that a reconciliation deal is close are false. Senator Manchin still has serious unresolved concerns and there is a lot of work to be done before it’s conceivable that a deal can be reached he can sign onto.”

However, Runyon revealed her boss was pleased Democrats could agree on a prescription drug proposal that could be passed with a simple majority.

“Sen. Manchin has long advocated for proposals that would lower prescription drug costs for seniors and his support for this proposal has never been in question. He’s glad that all 50 Democrats agree.”

Schumer, who hasn’t expressed a precise timeline to pass the budget reconciliation, but with Manchin’s reluctance, it’s unlikely that an agreement will be reached before the end of July, which could force Schumer to keep his colleagues in town for the first week of the August recess.