House Passes Reconciliation Bill Funding Climate, Social Safety Net Improvements

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 19, 2021
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The House of Representatives narrowly passed the nearly-$2 trillion reconciliation package that would, if passed into law as is, lead to major changes in the tax code in order to fund investments into climate change mitigation, social safety net improvements and a bevy of other provisions, the New York Times reported. The bill passed by a narrow margin, 220 to 213, with no votes from Republicans. Indeed, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) launched into an eight-hour long speech last night, which pushed the vote into this morning. 

Provisions contained within the bill, according to the Wall Street Journal, include: 

* A 15 percent minimum corporate tax; 
* A 1 percent tax on corporate stock buybacks; 
* A 5 percent surtax on incomes over $10 million, plus an additional 3 percent surtax on incomes over $25 million; 
* More tax enforcement funding for the IRS; 
* Raising the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions to $80,000 until 2030, at which point it would reses back to $10,000; 
*  Hundreds of billions of dollars toward climate initiatives, including tax benefits for clean energy as well as new emissions fees for methane; 
* The preservation of the expanded Affordable Care Act  subsidies, which were implemented as part of the pandemic aid programs, to 2021; 
* Provisioning of health subsidies to those whose states chose not to expand Medicaid; 
* Allowing Medicare to cover hearing treatments; 
* A cap on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs; 
* A universal prekingergarten program; 
* Child care subsidies as well as funding new child care facilities and staff; 
* Subsidies to those caring for elderly people; 
* Four weeks of paid sick, parental or caregiving leave (down from the 12 initially sought); 
* Allowing the federal government to negotiate some prescription drug prices; 
* Funds for the construction of new affordable housing units and the refurbishment of existing ones; and
* Extension of deportation protections while people wait to get their green cards. 

 The fate of the bill, as well as its final composition, remains far from certain, as the matter will now go to the Senate, where the Democrats cannot afford even a single defection, due to the 50-50 split between parties. 

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