What NY Congressional Dems are demanding be included in the reconciliation bill
With margins extremely tight on Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden can hardly afford to lose any Democratic votes if he wants to get his signature, multi-trillion dollar social spending bill across the finish line.
That gives every Democrat a chance to throw their weight around as part of negotiations, and some New Yorkers are embracing the opportunity.
For months now, for example, Congressman Tom Suozzi has led the charge to eliminate the cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes, often repeating the refrain, “No SALT, no deal.”
Republicans imposed the $10,000 cap in their tax-rewrite under then-President Donald Trump. The change has had an outsized impact on bluer, high-tax states.
Suozzi says he has the votes to block Biden’s entire spending bill if the cap is not lifted.
“I’m focused like a laser on this issue and I’ve really put myself way out there,” he said Monday. “If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to look like an idiot.”
Rep. Adriano Espaillat is drawing his own line on immigration, declaring in a recent statement he could not “fully support” the reconciliation package if reforms are not included.
A week ago, the Senate parliamentarian rejected a Democratic plan to include in the bill a pathway to citizenship for approximately 8 million, including Dreamers and temporary protected status recipients.
In an interview with Spectrum News NY1, Espaillat stopped short of demanding the reforms be quite that expansive in order to secure his support, saying, “If something regarding immigration is not on the bill, I will be a ‘no’ vote.”
“How could it be that we do this enormous bill — probably the biggest initiative since FDR — and we'll leave them out once again. That's appalling to me,” he continued.
Then there is drug pricing.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wants Congress to give Medicare the power to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.
Democrats on the committee she chairs amped up pressure last week, releasing a report showing taxpayers could have saved roughly $25 billion between 2014 and 2018 if negotiations were allowed on seven drugs reviewed.
“Pharmaceutical companies exploit the U.S. for astronomical price increases,” she said at a press conference rolling out the report.
Progressives have their own bottom line. They are threatening to hold up a separate bipartisan infrastructure plan if Democrats do not go big on social spending.
With so many demands from all factions — and that’s just from New York — the coming days are poised to be an extraordinary test of the president and his deal-making powers.