Capitol Correspondence - 07.19.21

Senate Democrats Announce Overall Cap for Reconciliation

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The ASAE article below reports on the broader political environment surrounding and affecting the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which is likely to be included in the Democratic-led Senate infrastructure package being queued up for budget reconciliation. ANCOR supports the Better Care Better Jobs Act because it operationalizes President Biden’s call for a $400 billion investment in the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services program.

“Senate Democrats reached a breakthrough this week on a $3.5 trillion package that includes massive new spending on a range of health, education and federal safety net programs endorsed by President Biden and progressive lawmakers.

Republicans have opposed many of the proposals in the plan, but Democrats intend to move this legislation via the budget reconciliation process which will only require 51 votes to pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said part of the package will expand Medicare, funding new dental, vision and hearing benefits while lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Schumer and other top Democrats said at a press conference this week that they will pay for the package through new taxes on corporations and wealthy families, a move that will be a non-starter for most if not all Republican lawmakers. [Editorial note: the reconciliation package is separate from the physical infrastructure package being negotiated by a bipartisan group of Senators. Here is the latest on that package.]


The $3.5 trillion in spending is larger than some moderate Democrats want but smaller than liberal lawmakers such as Sanders initially wanted. Yesterday, one of the party’s most influential swing votes, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), said he is waiting to review the fine print while adding that a key factor for him will be whether the bill is fully paid for. [Editorial note: This Politico article provides more details on the intra-party challenges surrounding the negotiations.]


While details of the package have not been released, White House officials have confirmed that it will be fully paid for and will include new taxes on corporations and the wealthy, while sticking to Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.”


Additional reading: While largely focused on the aging components of the HCBS program, this Politico Pro Analysis brief on President Biden’s $400 billion proposal helps identify some of the broader questions surrounding this issue.