06.08.2022
Senate Democrats head toward pivotal vote with climate agenda intact

Democrats’ health care, tax and climate bill is heading for a key procedural vote on Saturday with energy provisions like an electric vehicle tax credit intact — but no answers yet on whether drug pricing reforms can stay in the package.

The Senate parliamentarian — the upper chamber’s nonpartisan rules referee — has not said whether the prescription drug provisions meet strict budget rules allowing Democrats to pass their signature spending package without the threat of a GOP filibuster. The Senate is set to convene at noon on Saturday, with a pivotal vote to move forward on the bill expected later in the afternoon.

An unfavorable ruling on Democrats’ drug pricing plan could set off a scramble, prompting major revisions while the package hurtles toward the Senate floor. Democrats did receive some good news early Saturday morning, however: Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced that his panel’s energy provisions, which include the electric vehicle tax credits and a bonus tax credit to encourage clean energy developers to pay the prevailing wage, cleared Senate budget rules.

Some budget experts had surmised that certain conditions placed on the electric vehicle tax credits, including restrictions on where car battery materials must be sourced, ran afoul of the budget rules guiding the process that Democrats are using to pass their bill with a simple majority and evade a filibuster.

Under the current proposal, a car is only eligible for full credit if the batteries were made with materials from the U.S. or countries that have trade agreements with the U.S. — a requirement that some experts argue will make it very difficult to obtain the tax credit.

But those provisions can apparently remain in the package — a decision likely to please Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who wanted the restrictions in order to curb the electric vehicle industry’s reliance on China.

“The Finance Committee’s clean energy tax package adheres to Senate rules, and important provisions to ensure our clean energy future is built in America have been approved by the parliamentarian,” Wyden said in a statement. “I’m especially pleased that our prevailing wage provisions were approved. These provisions guarantee wage rates for clean energy projects. Clean energy jobs will be good-paying jobs.”

Saturday’s procedural hurdle, once cleared by Democrats, will trigger up to 20 hours of debate evenly divided by both Democrats and Republicans. But both sides aren’t expected to use their full time.

Rather, senators are likely eager to get started with a marathon amendment process known as vote-a-rama, in which the GOP will mount a series of politically tricky votes for Democrats in the hopes of amending the party-line package more than a year in the making. The Senate must endure the amendment marathon before Democrats can finally approve it.

Democrats are waiting to see whether they can include provisions that allow Medicare to negotiate the price of certain high-cost drugs and whether they can penalize drug companies for raising prices on individuals with private health insurance faster than inflation.

Republicans have argued that the savings yielded by the mandate involving the private insurance market, in particular, could be considered a budget side effect of the policy rather than its main purpose, which would break Senate budget rules.

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  • 7 часов, 15 минут назад 07.08.2022Congress
    News The Buckshee

    GOP Congresswoman Nancy Mace on Sunday warned that Republicans could pay a price in November if they don’t reel in extreme takes on abortion policy.

    The Republican from South Carolina supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade but criticized bans that states have implemented that take measures such as preventing a person traveling out of state for care or include no exceptions for rape or incest.

    Mace has been open about being raped at the age of 16. It took her a week to tell her mother, she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to her state’s requirement that a person report a rape — something she acknowledged might be incredibly challenging for a teenager experiencing trauma.

    “I am staunchly pro-life. I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record. I do think that it will be an issue in November if we’re not moderating ourselves, that we are including exceptions for women who’ve been raped, for girls who are victims of incest and, certainly, in every instance where the life of the mother is at stake,” Mace said. “Somewhere in the middle is where we’ve got to meet.”

    Mace’s warnings follow a stunning voter turnout in Kansas last week, when voters defeated an amendment drafted in response to the 2019 state Supreme Court’s ruling that the Kansas constitution protected the right to abortion. Fifty-nine percent of the more than 900,000 voters rejected the amendment — preventing the state Legislature from imposing strict bans — in the nation’s first read on how Americans feel about abortion in the post-Roe era.

    The lawmaker also said Congress must play a role in crafting policy that Americans find “reasonable.”

    “‘Handmaid’s Tale’ was not supposed to be a road map, right?” Mace said, referring to the chilling Margaret Atwood novel. “This is a place where we can be in the center. We can protect life, and we can protect where people are on both sides of the aisle.”

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  • 11 часов, 20 минут назад 07.08.2022Congress
    Dems’ climate, tax and health care bill survives all-night GOP onslaught

    Senate Democrats watched Sunday dawn from the Senate floor still on track to pass their signature climate, tax and health care package after slogging through an all-night attempt by Republicans to force changes.

    The $700 billion-plus party-line legislation remained unscathed after more than six hours of “vote-a-rama,” the amendment marathon that allows any senator to force a vote on proposed tweaks to the measure. As of early Sunday morning, the upper chamber had voted on about a dozen and a half potential changes, all of which fell short of the support needed to alter the Democrats’ bill.

    That was thanks to near-complete unity among Democrats in defeating amendments. The party’s senators locked arms to ward off any changes that could endanger the fragile coalition needed to steer their legislation to passage under rules that allow them to avoid a filibuster.

    A few more potential threats loomed at sunrise Sunday, particularly on the legislation’s insulin price cap. But Republicans otherwise made little headway during a legislative endurance run of politically tricky votes on immigration, taxes and other issues.

    “I want my colleagues to understand what this is really about. These motions … are motions to kill this bill, period,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

    During the vote-a-rama, Democrats offered alternative amendments to buy some cover for their own vulnerable members on several GOP proposals. That included a side-by-side debate on Title 42, a polarizing Trump-era policy that placed limits on migration during the pandemic.

    Democrats also rejected amendments from within their own caucus during overnight voting. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tried to insert provisions that would bolster prescription drug reforms, expand Medicare and create a Civilian Climate Corps, but he failed to attract support from the vast majority of his colleagues. Only Georgia Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff joined Sanders in his effort to expand Medicare.

    The vote-a-rama is the final episode of a lengthy drama that began more than a year ago with a Democratic budget designed to set the stage for a $3.5 trillion social spending package that could sidestep a filibuster. That vision for whittled down over the course of many months to the bill that the Senate is still set to pass later Sunday.

    Democrats warned against making significant changes during the all-night Senate session, arguing that it was time to pass the bill after roughly a year of high-profile haggling that shined a spotlight on divisions between progressives and moderates.

    The final bill was carefully negotiated to be able to win support from all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) surprised his colleagues late last month when he reached a deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on tax and climate provisions as part of the agreement.

    Before that Schumer-Manchin pact, Democrats had expected to pass a much smaller health care-only package to reduce drug costs and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies.

    The deal struck by Schumer and Manchin kicked off a days-long race to sell it to the rest of the caucus and vet the legislative text against stringent Senate budget rules that Democrats must obey to pass their bill without a GOP filibuster. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) later secured a handful of changes in exchange for her support to start debate.

    Schumer made a handful of major changes to appease Sinema, eliminating language that would have tightened a loophole allowing certain investors to pay less in taxes that would have raised $14 billion in revenue. Instead, the pair agreed to add a 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks, which is expected to raise $73 billion, while tweaking the corporate minimum tax to appease anxious manufacturers.

    The bill could still change before it crosses the Senate’s finish line, however.

    Democrats are still facing a Republicans challenge to their proposed $35 monthly cap on what people pay out-of-pocket for insulin, a plan championed by Warnock. Republicans have argued that the provision doesn’t comply with Senate budget rules.

    The Senate parliamentarian, or the upper chamber’s rules referee, could decide in real-time whether the insulin provisions should stay or go.

    If the parliamentarian rules against it, Democrats are expected to try to muster 60 votes to overrule the decision and keep it in the bill. That would require finding support from 10 Republicans, which they’re not expected to get.

    “I need them to not block it,” Warnock said of Republicans. “If they don’t block it, it will pass.”

    The outcome of the insulin provision was the biggest question mark as the hours-long voting marathon stretched into Sunday.

    On Saturday, the party-line proposal survived Senate vetting of the Medicare portions of its prescription drug reform plan, while Democrats lost ground on a separate pillar that penalizes drug companies for raising prices on individuals with private health insurance. The legislation’s tax and environmental provisions also advanced unscathed.

    Democrats ultimately preserved the core pieces of their proposal: lowering some prescription drug prices, providing more than $300 billion into climate change and clean energy, and imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on large corporations plus a new 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks. The bill also increases IRS enforcement and extends Obamacare subsidies through the 2024 election.

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  • 2 дня, 1 час назад 06.08.2022Congress
    News The Buckshee

    Prompted by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Democrats are suddenly jettisoning a chunk of their tax-increase plans in favor of a new levy on stock buybacks.

    Some wonder what took them so long.

    The 1 percent excise tax on stock purchases is far less controversial than the things it would replace in their climate, tax and health care package.

    Democrats faced a wave of complaints that their proposed new minimum tax on corporations, which they’ve now agreed to narrow, would disproportionately hit manufacturers.

    At the same time, their plan to target the “carried interest” loophole that’s now being dropped had riled powerful Wall Street lobbyists.

    But the buyback tax, which Democrats have been contemplating for months, has been relatively uncontroversial — at least for a tax increase. That’s probably because it is so small.

    “It’s not like business endorsed this, but they also didn’t lay across the train tracks to try to stop it,” said Todd Metcalf, a former top Senate tax aide now at the consulting firm PwC.

    “This is the lowest hanging fruit.”

    The swap will not only help secure Sinema’s support. It will also allow Democrats to say they are raising taxes on the well-to-do while scratching their long-standing itch to do something about corporate stock repurchases. Democrats were infuriated when, in the wake of Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts, many companies used their savings to buy back stock, enriching shareholders.

    The change will also blunt Republican charges Democrats are hurting manufacturers at a time when supply chains remain snarled.

    The excise tax appears to be more than enough to cover the $14 billion lost with the carried interest proposal and by squeezing the 15 percent corporate minimum levy, or “book-income” tax. Democrats say it would generate $74 billion in revenue, which would keep the overall savings in the package in the neighborhood of $300 billion.

    The savings are less, though, than the $124 billion budget forecasters had estimated last year when House Democrats considered the proposal. One reason for the difference is that the tax would have begun in January of this year, so Democrats have now lost a year of revenue.

    The tax changeup could be a little awkward for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has repeatedly argued in recent days that Democrats’ bill is merely closing loopholes, not imposing new taxes.

    “It will take a very, very creative messaging person to say that this excise tax is closing a loophole,” said Metcalf. “It clearly is a new tax.”

    It’s the latest change forced by the enigmatic Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has repeatedly forced Democrats to rewrite their tax plans — all the while saying little publicly about what she wants and why. Senate Democrats aim to pass the legislation next week, with the House planning to quickly follow.

    “I hate stock buybacks,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday. “I think they’re one of the most self-serving things that corporate America does. Instead of investing in workers and in training and in research and in equipment, they simply — they don’t do a thing to make their company better and they artificially raise the stock price by just reducing the number of shares.”

    One reason Wall Street is shrugging at the buyback tax is because it is so small. Few expect it to dissuade many companies from purchasing their own stock. Many firms see their daily stock prices fluctuate by much more than 1 percent each day.

    And some say the tax doesn’t look so bad compared to others that Democrats had been pushing.

    “It’s not exactly popular in the business community, but stopping it was never the top priority,” said Capital Alpha Partners’ James Lucier in a research note.

    “We don’t believe it’s a good thing for investors, but given the options for increased revenue on the table to help pay for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it’s probably the least bad.”

    The biggest threat for Wall Street could come later: It would be the government’s first tax on buybacks and once it’s on the books Democrats could come back later and increase it.

    Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said: “Unfortunately, the new excise tax on stock buybacks will only distort the efficient movement of capital to where it can be put to best use and will diminish the value of Americans’ retirement savings.”

    The problem Democrats faced with their minimum tax on big companies is that the tax code gives capital-intensive industries generous deductions for buying plants and equipment — which can drive a firm’s well below the 15 percent floor.

    That led to a torrent of complaints from manufacturers, echoed by Republicans, that they would be hammered by what they called a backdoor repeal of popular depreciation allowances.

    Democrats say they’ve agreed to spare accelerated depreciation from the minimum tax calculations, though the reported cost of doing that — $55 billion, according to Schumer — is lower than many anticipated, and some are eager to see the fine print of the plan. Before the changes, the minimum tax was projected to hit about 150 companies and produce $313 billion in revenue.

    “We are glad to hear that accelerated depreciation provisions are removed, but we remain skeptical and will be reviewing the revised legislation carefully,” said Jay Timmons, head of the National Association of Manufacturers.

    As for the carried interest provisions, Schumer said he had no choice but to delete it in order to win Sinema’s support.

    Lawmakers have been trying to cut or eliminate the break for well over a decade — and somehow, regardless of which party is in charge, the break always manages to live on.

    “Carried interest is the greatest survival story since the Shackleton expedition,” tweeted Jon Lieber, a former top aide to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

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  • 2 дня, 11 часов назад 05.08.2022Congress
    Biden’s big bill: Two GOP strategists on how to kill it

    Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough will continue to host Democratic and Republican aides behind closed doors today (no press allowed) to scrub the reconciliation bill for potential violations of the Byrd Rule.

    MacDonough broke the hearts of progressives on several occasions last year, including when she nixed the minimum wage from the Covid relief bill, which was passed using reconciliation, and rejected three different versions of immigration reform from the Democratic reconciliation bill that was eventually scrapped in December.

    Republican budget nerds reviewing the latest reconciliation bill still believe they can knock out certain provisions. On Thursday, for the latest episode of the Playbook Deep Dive podcast, we sat down with two of the party’s leading experts on the process: Eric Ueland, who spent 25 years in the Senate, including as staff director of the Budget Committee, and lobbyist Greg D’Angelo, who spent nearly a decade on the committee. Both men were intimately involved with drafting language for reconciliation bills in the Trump years — including the successful effort to use reconciliation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and ending the individual mandate in Obamacare.

    The fight over the individual mandate is instructive. MacDonough rejected the original GOP plan to repeal the legal requirement to have coverage, which she argued ran afoul of reconciliation rules because the policy effect of repeal outweighed any budgetary effect, one of the core tests of what’s allowed in a reconciliation bill. Democrats thought they had won the fight. But D’Angelo returned to MacDonough with a new idea: Rather than eliminating the mandate, what if they simply eliminated the tax penalty used to enforce it? MacDonough agreed that keeping the mandate on the books but dialing the penalty down to zero was within the rules. (Her guidance on the issue led to a heated exchange behind closed doors when Democratic staff learned of what they perceived as her reversal.)

    In the current Byrd Bath debate, D’Angelo said he “would focus like a laser” on three policies.

    1. The drug negotiation price setting program in the Democratic bill. The policy allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, which would bring costs down for beneficiaries. To expand those savings to Americans outside of Medicare, pharmaceutical companies would have to offer prescription drugs to private insurers at the Medicare prices or face a 95 percent excise tax.

    “It’s a tax penalty that raises no federal revenue,” D’Angelo said. “I.E. has no budget effect, and it appears designed solely for the purpose and intent of altering behavior: forcing drug makers to the table. So I’d argue it’s not budgetary.”

    If MacDonough can be convinced that it’s “merely incidental to the policy motive of forcing manufacturers to the table,” then she could strike it. (Democrats say they are confident the policy will survive any challenges.)

    2. The repeal of the Trump administration’s drug rebate rule. “Questions are raised about whether it’s appropriate to come in and in a single sentence, repeal a 300-page regulation, whole cloth,” D’Angelo said. “That’s a huge policy element to it, despite the huge budgetary effect.”

    3. Forcing rebates on drug makers that raise prices faster than inflation. “It has sweeping effects with huge costs that are huge policy changes,” he said.

    In this GOP Byrd Bath dream scenario, each domino would bring the bill closer to collapse. Each of these three policies has savings of about $100 million. “If you can knock out one of those or even a portion of those, you dramatically reduce the savings that are projected under this bill,” D’Angelo said. “And I think it complicates the deal that the majority appears to have struck.” (Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has insisted on $300 billion in deficit reduction.)

    Ueland added: “If enough of these are knocked out or modified, then suddenly you’re skirting the edge of not reducing the deficit.”

    The timing: MacDonough’s rulings on the prescription drug provisions of the bill could come as early as today, per Burgess and Marianne.

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  • 3 дня, 3 часа назад 04.08.2022Congress
    Dems hurtle toward chaotic weekend with their agenda on the line

    As the Senate heads toward a rare Friday session, rank-and-file Democrats say they feel good about the prospects for their signature climate, tax and health care proposal. Just don’t ask for specifics.

    Democrats are heading into the weekend with a murky timeline for passing their bill, multiple outstanding issues and one very important undecided senator. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not yet announced when the Senate will vote to proceed to the party-line measure, and on Thursday, he predicted “some late nights and extended debates” as he vowed to pass the legislation in the “coming days.”

    There’s a lot of uncertainty to button up in those days. Democrats and Republicans will continue arguing into Friday about what can be included in the bill. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is still mum on the deal negotiated by Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as she seeks some changes to it. And there’s still an unlimited amendment “vote-a-rama” to get through.

    “I literally have no specific knowledge about tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, Saturday, when are we going to start, how many votes, how many amendments,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). The vote-a-rama, he added, is “going to start later than we imagine, it’s going to run longer than we would hope and it’s going to be more painful getting out of here than any of us have any reason to expect.

    It’s a microcosm of the perpetual uncertainty hanging over the longest-running 50-50 Senate in history: Democrats need every single one of their side’s votes as the possibility of Covid-related absences hangs over the whip count, Republicans actually have some limited leverage, and the Senate’s nonpartisan rules referee maintains significant sway over their agenda.

    The referee, formally known as the parliamentarian, will continue hearing arguments about whether the bill meets the chamber’s stringent rules for evading a filibuster. A ruling on prescription drugs could come as early as Friday, with the tax provisions coming after.

    Democrats are seeking to make sure their legislation can enjoy the filibuster protections of the budget before making any move on the floor, according to a person familiar with the process. Many senators and aides see Saturday as a likely target date for the bill’s forward movement.

    “Until they have all the [budget] scores and Byrd scrubs done, I assume they tee it up, just a guess, tomorrow or maybe early Saturday,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “If they get it teed up tomorrow, we can probably start vote-a-rama Saturday.”

    The legislation would spend $369 billion on energy and climate change, extend Obamacare subsidies through 2024, direct Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and send an estimated $300 billion to deficit reduction. It would be funded, in part, by a 15 percent corporate minimum tax on big companies and increased IRS enforcement.

    The parliamentarian still has to review the Democrats’ updated prescription drug language as well as the package’s tax provisions, including electric vehicle tax credits. Those arguments will take place on Friday, according to a Democratic aide. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) legislation to reduce the cost of insulin is being included in the prescription drug provision.

    The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee met with the Senate’s rules arbiter on Wednesday, in part to review a proposed fee for oil and gas companies that exceed a certain level of methane emissions, according to a second Democratic aide. The bill also provides subsidies to help companies pay for technologies to prevent methane emissions.

    And then there’s the changes Sinema wants, including nixing a provision that would narrow the carried interest loophole for some investment income, which would bring in $14 billion in revenues, and adding roughly $5 billion in drought resiliency. Republicans are hopeful Sinema seeks further changes to the 15 percent corporate minimum tax on large corporations, which she helped negotiate last year, although that is a major part of the bill’s revenue and may prove tough to change on a tight timeline.

    Asked if he is conjuring any changes to the painstakingly crafted corporate minimum tax, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said senators want the parliamentarian to review the tax legislation as written before making any subsequent changes. Sinema specifically has said she wants the parliamentarian review to occur before she weighs in on the bill.

    “What we’ve been told is there’s an interest in waiting for the parliamentarian’s judgment, so that’s where we are,” Wyden said.

    Between Sinema and the parliamentarian, Democrats expect some tweaks to their long-awaited bill, but don’t see major changes forthcoming — for now. As Coons put it: “Significantly no, will it change? Yes … Sinema will of course have some changes that she requests that reflect her priorities in her state.” Coons said he’s had three discussions with her so far about the bill.

    “I’m not in Sinema’s head and I don’t know how those discussions are going,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “But it’s going to be fundamentally what it is. It’s going to address climate in a significant way, it’s going to affect drug prices. It’s going to close some tax loopholes. I hope a lot of them.”

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  • 3 дня, 23 часа назад 04.08.2022Congress
    News The Buckshee

    Democrats are bracing for potentially huge changes to their party-line climate, tax and health care bill as it’s run through strict Senate rules that will determine which parts they can keep, which need makeovers and which they’ll have to chuck in the garbage.

    Both Republican and Democratic aides are still consumed by an aggressive slate of meetings with the Senate’s nonpartisan parliamentarian, who will decide whether each piece of the legislation gels with rules that allow Democrats to evade a GOP filibuster of their marquee domestic bill. And so far, the rules referee has been noticeably silent as to what stays and what goes.

    That leaves a hefty amount of the package up in the air as Democrats plow forward with a schedule that’s the congressional equivalent of an Olympic triple axel. The bill’s provisions designed to cut prescription drug costs, encourage the buying of electric cars and narrow tax loopholes are all still marred by major question marks — and when those answers come, they could endanger or even sink Democrats’ entire effort on the floor.

    But Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose panel has overseen the drafting of huge swaths of the bill, professed no concern with the unresolved policy questions or rushed timeline.

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

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released an official estimate Wednesday that Democrats’ overall bill, as currently written, would reduce deficits by about $101.5 billion over a decade, not including the provisions that beef up IRS enforcement. With those measures included, the deficit reduction would amount to $305 billion, the CBO said.

    Of course, the bill may not stay intact as Democrats race to wrap it up this week. Here are five provisions that may have to be stripped or modified under the Senate’s budget rules:

    Democrats plan to try for a major add to their bigger legislation: a $35 per month cap on what people can pay out-of-pocket for insulin. They know full well that Republicans could easily nix it; the measure raises an obvious red flag under the budget rules because it may target the finances of drug companies more than it affects government coffers.

    Under Senate rules, each piece of Democrats’ bill must produce a significant effect on federal spending, revenues and debt. Democrats have to show that any proposed policy changes still primarily affect the federal budget and are not simply a “side effect.”

    Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the Senate HELP Committee, said Wednesday that the insulin provision would draw a GOP challenge.

    The Senate’s nonpartisan rules arbiter has spent more than a week reviewing Democrats’ drug-pricing plans. While provisions that would allow Medicare to negotiate the costs of higher drugs seem more likely to pass muster, Democrats’ push to penalize drug companies when they raise prices on those with private health insurance presents a bigger hurdle.

    The savings yielded by that mandate involving the private insurance market could be considered a budget side effect of the policy rather than its main purpose, which would break Senate budget rules. Some budget experts surmise that the measure has a shot at surviving, but caution that no one has a crystal ball when it comes to the parliamentarian.

    Some of the bill’s new conditions to qualify for a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicle purchases could also come under scrutiny. Under the current proposal, a car is only eligible for full credit if the batteries were made with materials from the U.S. or countries that have trade agreements with the U.S.

    The requirements are meant to satisfy Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) concerns about the electric vehicle industry relying too heavily on China. But those conditions could once again raise the question of whether or not the policy being created outweighs its effect on the federal budget.

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

    Opponents of the proposal argue its policy impact outweighs its budgetary effects, because it makes solar and wind development on federal lands contingent on oil producer leases.

    Democrats want to narrow a loophole that allows wealthy private equity and hedge fund managers to pay less in taxes, known as the carried interest provision. But Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the only Democrat who hasn’t yet signed off on the bill, is seeking the elimination of that carried-interest shrinking as she weighs whether to support the entire package.

    Before Democrats can pass their bill with a simple majority, senators must endure an all-night amendment marathon that’s known as a “vote-a-rama.” During that period, Republicans could propose an amendment that would strike the carried interest language — and would likely succeed in its removal given the 50-50 Senate, so long as Sinema sides with them.

    “We have looked at this every which way,” Wyden said, when asked about potential changes to win Sinema’s vote. “And any way you look at it, we’re saying there’s something that needs to be changed when you have multi-billion-dollar corporations paying lower tax rates than nurses and firefighters.”

    Josh Siegel contributed to this report.

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Congress Senate Democrats head toward pivotal vote with climate agenda intact