Status: 10/28/2021 4:46 p.m.
For months, Biden has been fighting over the core projects of his presidency: an improved social and climate policy and an infrastructure program. In the dispute over financing, the US president has now presented a slimmed-down package.
In response to pressure from parts of his party, US President Joe Biden has dramatically cut his planned package for investments in social and climate protection. High-ranking employees of the White House said that spending of 1.75 trillion US dollars is now planned. A US government official spoke of a “historic” investment program and was optimistic that the package would pass Congress.
Originally, Biden had targeted a package that was twice that size, valued at $ 3.5 trillion. However, some Democrats had resisted such high spending and, in months of negotiations, forced the president to abandon parts of his plans. The package is one of the core domestic political projects of his presidency.
Child care, nursing and health insurance
The package includes $ 555 billion in investments in the fight against the climate crisis, including investments in renewable energies or tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars.
The heart of the package, however, is social: among other things, there are plans to expand childcare, care for the elderly and statutory health insurance as well as tax cuts for low-wage earners. It is planned, for example, to reduce the – up to now sometimes horrific – costs of childcare for many families in the country, and in some cases to be borne entirely by the state. Families should also be given tax relief.
The package is to be financed through tax increases for corporations and top earners as well as through the more consistent collection of due taxes. The White House expects about $ 2 trillion in new revenue – a little more than the cost of the package.
Social and climate policy against infrastructure
This was preceded by tough negotiations about his ambitious social and climate policy and the question of how to pay for it. The dispute has been dividing the Democrats for weeks. Because in addition to the social and climate protection program, Biden also wants to get an infrastructure package worth 1.2 trillion US dollars through Congress. MPs from the left wing of the party blocked this plan: They first demanded robust commitments to social and climate protection measures before they vote in favor of the infrastructure package.
Biden previously visited the Democratic parliamentary group in the House of Representatives in order to personally campaign for approval of the compromise package. Such visits by the President to Congress are rare. Biden hopes that the Democrats will approve the framework agreement for the social and climate protection package and the infrastructure package. “President Biden is confident that this framework agreement can pass both chambers of Congress,” said a government official. He called on Congress “as soon as possible” to deal with this law and the infrastructure package.
Domestic political success before the congressional elections
The Democrats only have a wafer-thin majority in the Senate and can therefore not afford to deviate: Like the opposition Republicans, they have 50 senators; In stalemate situations, Vice President Kamala Harris, in her role as Senate President, has the casting vote. In the House of Representatives, the majority of Democrats are slightly larger.
Both packages are central domestic political projects for Biden during his tenure – and in view of the internal party struggles among the Democrats, they are linked to one another. With next year’s congressional elections – halfway through his term in office – time is pressing for Biden to push through his core concerns.