By Victor Reklaitis
Execs from GM, Carrier, Cummins, Ameren take part in virtual event
President Joe Biden talked up the benefits of Senate Democrats' $739 billion healthcare, energy and tax package on Thursday, with his comments coming at a virtual White House event with officials from companies and unions.
"The Inflation Reduction Act lowers prescription-drug prices, lowers health-insurance premiums, invests in clean energy (ICLN) that will create jobs and economic opportunity for business and labor, reduces the deficit and makes common-sense reforms to our corporate tax code," said Biden, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.
He called on Congress to advance the bill, saying: "Pass it. Get it to my desk."
The officials from Corporate America and unions who participated virtually were Marry Barra, CEO at carmaker General Motors (GM); David Gitlin, CEO at Carrier (CARR), which makes heating and cooling equipment; Warner Baxter, CEO at power company Ameren (AEE); Jennifer Rumsey, the new CEO at engines maker Cummins (CMI); Greg Adams, CEO at healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente; Ray Curry, the UAW's president; and Liz Shuler, the AFL-CIO's president.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced last week that they'd reached a long-awaited deal on the so-called budget reconciliation bill. The measure is a greatly pared-down version of prior Democratic spending proposals, such as Biden's Build Back Better plan.
Analysts for the Penn Wharton Budget Model and Moody's have estimated that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 won't actually reduce inflation by a great deal.
But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group, has spoken in favor of the big legislative package, saying it would reduce budget deficits by over $300 billion in its first nine years -- and cut deficits by $1.9 trillion over two decades.
Related:Democrats' climate and tax package would cut deficits by $101.5 billion, CBO estimates
Opinion:Subsidies for renewable energy often go to the same fossil-fuel companies that are fighting the green-energy transition with their other hand
The exact timing for when the Senate could pass the Manchin-Schumer package currently appears unclear, said Tobin Marcus, a policy and politics strategist at Evercore ISI, in a note on Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the "greatest source of uncertainty," as she is asking for changes to one provision that would address the so-called carried-interest loophole and to another provision that would establish a 15% corporate minimum tax, as well as seeking $5 billion in drought-related funding.
"Either Schumer will move forward sometime late this week or early next based on an expectation that Sinema will support the bill, or it will become clear that Sinema's concerns require further negotiations, at which point Democrats may have no choice but to punt to September," Marcus wrote.
Read more:'We expect it to be removed': Democrats' push to close 'carried interest loophole' in jeopardy as Sinema seeks to block effort
Plus:Democratic healthcare and climate package looks likely to become law, but SALT issue presents hurdle, analysts say
Every Democratic senator's vote is crucial for reconciliation bills because the 100-member Senate is evenly split and Republican support isn't expected. Democrats are in control of the chamber only because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes.
Another analyst, Kim Wallace, senior managing director at 22V Research, said she thinks "momentum is gaining" for the Senate to pass the Manchin-Schumer bill by Monday.
"The easiest way to get a bill by Sunday night or Monday morning" is for Schumer to remove the carried-interest provision, he wrote in a note on Thursday. "Our sense is that's where this is headed."
Americans' frustrations with high inflation are helping to keep Biden's approval ratings low -- and giving a talking point for Republicans to use against Biden and his fellow Democrats in this year's midterm elections. The president, for his part, has said fighting inflation is his administration's top economic priority.
U.S. stocks traded mostly lower Thursday, as investors weighed another round of corporate earnings reports and looked ahead to Friday's jobs report.
Now see:The Inflation Reduction Act would send $80 billion to the IRS
And:Mulling an EV? A first-ever $4,000 tax incentive for used electric vehicles is part of Manchin's compromise
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 04, 2022 15:58 ET (19:58 GMT)
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