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The Democrats’ idea for a new billionaires’ tax to help pay for President Joe Biden’s social services and climate change plan has quickly run into criticism as too cumbersome, with some lawmakers preferring the original plan of simply raising the top tax rates on corporations and the wealthy.
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Once Democrats agree to the tax proposals, they can assess how much is funding available for Biden’s overall package to expand health care, child care and other climate change programs.
“We are almost there,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
With the revenue side of the package deeply in flux, Democrats are at a standstill trying to wrap up negotiations on Biden’s overall package. But party leaders insisted Tuesday a broad deal remains within reach as they rush to show progress before the president departs later this week to global overseas summits.
Admitting it was the president’s preference to have a deal in place before he left to talk to world leaders, Psaki noted, “we are all on the verge of passing a bill that is the largest investment in addressing the climate crisis in history.”
Psaki said. “And of course, global leaders take note of that, too.”
Democrats were hoping Biden could cite major accomplishments to world leaders later this week. They are also facing an Oct. 31 deadline to pass a related $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package of roads, broadband and other public works before routine federal transportation funds expire.
READ MORE: Pelosi expresses optimism over Biden plan, infrastructure bill
After months of start-and-stop negotiations, disputes remain over far-reaching investments as Democrats work on resolving the disputes between centrists and progressives that have stalled the bill.
Among the unresolved provisions: plans to expand Medicare coverage with dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors; child care assistance; free pre-kindergarten; and a new program of four-weeks paid family leave.
The White House floated a new climate change strategy beefing up incentives for agriculture and industrial sites to use cleaner energy sources after Manchin rejected an earlier plan.
Pelosi said she expected an agreement by week’s end, paving the way for a House vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Senate had approved that over the summer, but the measure stalled during deliberations on the broader Biden bill.
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