Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana dismissed the electric vehicle tax credit jammed into President Joe Biden‘s $1.75 trillion social and climate reform bill as ‘corporate welfare’ on Sunday as the sweeping measure heads to Congress’ upper house.
‘A middle class person can’t afford a used car, is paying for a tax credit for someone who makes $500,000 per year? Republicans wouldn’t agree to that. Yet now we’re being asked to increase the debt limit to pay for it – that’s not a fair deal,’ he said on ABC News.
The Build Back Better bill, which passed the House of Representatives just over a week ago, includes a refundable tax credit for up to $12,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Currently some American taxpayers are eligible for up to $7,500.
It’s one of many environmentally-conscious measures in the package aimed at helping the US meet its goal of net-zero carbon emissions economy-wide by 2050.
But on Sunday, Cassidy told ABC This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos that those tax breaks would benefit the ultra-wealthy rather than everyday Americans Biden is promising to help.
‘I wouldn’t be giving the tax cuts to the billionaires that this bill does,’ Cassidy told ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos.
‘The corporate welfare in this bill – if you early $500,000 a year and buy an $80,000 electric vehicle, you can get like a 76 – or $1,200 – $12,000 credit. What?’
Cassidy claimed that a third of the ‘expenditures’ in Biden’s progressive bill involve tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy
He claimed that one third of the ‘expenditures’ in the progressive package were ‘tax cuts for billionaires.’
‘There’s corporate welfare – it’s going to raise the price of gasoline by about 20 cents per gallon,’ Cassidy said. ‘It’s a bad, bad, bad bill.’
The Build Back Better bill passed the House in a 220 to 213 vote. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was the only Democrat to vote against it.
It’s expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats’ razor-thin majority means virtually everyone in Biden’s party needs to vote in lock-step for its passage.
A temporary measure to keep the government funded and avoiding the US defaulting on its debts is also coming to an end late this week, putting Congressional Democrats in a time crunch to both pass Biden’s agenda and avoid a potential economic disaster.
Cassidy, who voted for a smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill that Biden signed into law this month, accused Democrats on Sunday of wanting to raise the debt limit to pay for Biden’s sweeping progressive reform package.
‘The debt limit, in the past, has been the result of bipartisan negotiations, bipartisan both about the spending, bipartisan both about the debt limit. If you haven’t noticed, Republicans haven’t been invited in to discuss this.’
Biden is returning to the White House today after spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Nantucket
His party is under pressure to pass his agenda and avert a possible government shutdown
Democrats have said raising the debt ceiling is necessary to pay for debt accumulated under the Trump administration.
Until the stopgap measure passed in mid-October, Republicans and Democrats had been squabbling over the debt ceiling, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning that the US wouldn’t be able to pay its bills after October 18.
McConnell wanted Senate Democrats to pass a debt ceiling hike alone – using the process of reconciliation to bypass the filibuster and get a bill through.
Biden and other top Democrats wanted Republicans to simply not filibuster a Senate debt bill, allowing them to pass it using regular order.
They complained that reconciliation would take too long, and jeopardize the US economy.
The House had previously passed a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling until December 2022, after next year’s midterm elections.
Republicans, however, wanted a bill that would include a specific dollar amount – likely as a way they can nail Democrats on increasing the debt in advance of the midterm elections.
The current version of Biden’s Build Back Better Bill includes a $12,500 electric vehicle tax credit
Both Yellen and Democratic leaders including House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland have called for the debt ceiling to be abolished altogether.
Failure to raise the debt limit could also hinder the Build Back Better package’s rollout, if it passes by December 3 when the temporary extension runs out.
If the federal government’s cash flow runs dry it will be forced to suspend or partially slow programs that run on federal dollars – which if the $1.75 trillion bill passes would include universal pre-K and expansions to Medicare and Medicaid.
It could also impact the building of new roads, bridges and broadband infrastructure outlined in Biden’s recently-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill.
The White House’s latest scoring on the Build Back Better plan, which incorporates new information from the Congressional Budget Office, Joint Committee on Taxation and the Treasury Department, shows that the package will reduce the federal deficit by $112 billion over the next decade.
The new cost estimate shows the bill will add $367 billion to the deficit over a decade.
The $367 billion would accrue over a decade, as the bill’s spending on climate programs, paid leave, and child care add up and revenue-raising provisions kick in.
The new number from congressional scorekeepers came despite the administration saying the bill would be entirely ‘paid for.’
What’s in, and what’s out: The social welfare and climate initiatives included in Build Back Better bill
President Joe Biden’s now plan to boost social and education programs as well as protect against global warming continues to be fine-tuned by Democrats in Congress with a new goal of completing work before Thanksgiving.
The updated plan includes universal preschool, funding to limit child care costs and a one-year continuation of a child tax credit that was expanded earlier this year and applied to more families. But Democrats are scaling back some investments and shortening the timeframe for funding to whittle down spending. Some proposals have been dropped entirely.
Here’s what’s in the package, based on summaries provided by the White House and the House.
– An expanded child tax credit would continue for another year. As part of a COVID relief bill, Democrats increased the tax credit to $3,000 per child ages 6-17 and $3,600 per child 5 and under. Households earning up to $150,000 per year get the credit paid to them on a monthly basis. Budget hawks worry that a one-year extension is a budgetary tool that will lower the cost of the program on paper, but mask its true costs since lawmakers tend to continue programs rather than let them expire.
– The expanded Earned Income Tax Credit that goes to 17 million childless, low-wage workers would continue for one year.
– Universal prekindergarten would be established for all 3- and 4-year-olds and child-care subsidies would be provided for poorer and middle-income Americans. But the programs are funded only for six years.
– $40 billion would be provided for higher education and workforce development. This includes raising the size of Pell Grants and providing funding for historically black colleges and universities as well as institutions that largely serve Hispanic students or tribal communities.
– Medicare would be expanded to cover hearing aids, costing an estimated $35 billion over 10 years.
– Expanded tax credits for insurance premiums tied to the Affordable Care Act would be extended through 2025. The White House says that would help 3 million uninsured people gain coverage.
– $150 billion for a Medicaid program that supports home health care, helping to clear a backlog and improving working conditions.
– $90 billion for investments that would include funding maternal health, community violence initiatives, disadvantaged farmers, nutrition and pandemic preparation.
– Out-of-pocket Medicare Part D costs for older Americans would be capped at $2,000 and the price of insulin reduced to no more than $35 a dose.
– A Medicare drug negotiation program would be established. Each year, the secretary of Health and Human Services would identify 100 brand-name drugs that lack price competition and from that list negotiate the price of up to 10 drugs in 2025, 15 in 2026 and 2027, and 20 thereafter. Insulin products must also be negotiated. A drug selected for negotiation would continue to be included in the program until competition enters the market.
– Biden’s plan says parents earning up to 250% of a state’s median income should pay no more than 7% of their income on child care. Parents must be working, seeking a job, in school or dealing with a health issue to qualify.
– $150 billion would be committed toward housing affordability with a goal of building more than 1 million new rental and single-family homes. The goal would be to reduce price pressures by providing rental and down payment assistance.
– Clean energy tax credits would receive $320 billion worth of funding. These credits over 10 years would help businesses and homeowners shift to renewable energy sources for electricity, vehicles and manufacturing.
– $105 billion would be directed toward investments that would improve communities’ ability to withstand extreme weather caused by climate change. The funding would also create a Civilian Climate Corps that focuses on conserving public lands and bolstering community resilience to flooding, drought and other weather emergencies.
– $110 billion would help develop new domestic supply chains and develop new solar and battery technologies. Support would also be given to existing steel, cement and aluminum industries.
– $20 billion would be allotted for the government to become the buyer of clean energy technologies as part of its procurement process.
– $9 billion would be allocated for lead remediation projects, such as the replacement of water lines or the replacement of school drinking water fountains that may contain lead.
– Biden’s plan bolsters the IRS to improve collections and close the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
– A 15% minimum income tax would be applied to large corporations, along with a 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks. The U.S. would also be aligned with an agreement reached by more than 100 countries designed to deter multinational companies from stashing profits in low-tax countries.
– The bill would create a new surtax on multimillionaires and billionaires and close a provision that allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying the 3.8% Medicare tax on their earnings.
– A $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions would be raised to $72,500. Tax analysts say the change would largely benefit high-income households.
– Those who entered the United States prior to Jan. 2, 2011, and have continuously resided there since would be eligible for renewable parole grants for five years after paying an administrative fee and completing security and background checks. The parole status gives recipients authorization to travel and work in the U.S. and deems them eligible for a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or a state identification card.
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
– Eligible workers would receive up to four weeks of paid leave to reimburse them for time taken to care for a new child or other family members or to recover from illness. Biden had initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave.
WHAT’S OUT OF THE BILL
– A proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental and vision care is out because of concerns about the cost.
– A proposal to allow for up to two years of free community college is out.