Reconciliation Negotiations Are Heating Up

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It’s time to get down to business. After months of leadup and preliminary negotiations, committees in the House are just days away from releasing the first official details of the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill. There’s a lot at stake here, with trillions of dollars of support for American families and tax hikes on the rich hanging in the balance as a few centrist Democrats seek to obstruct the process and force a smaller package.

This isn’t a surprise. We’ve been saying for weeks that while the investments and tax hikes included in the President’s Build Back Better agenda are immensely popular with American voters, we knew we would face resistance from the ultra-wealthy, corporate entities, and the politicians they fund. They may be hiding behind the curtain of “fiscal responsibility,” but we know the real reason for their obstruction – a commitment to doing whatever it takes to protect the wealth of their donors and other rich Americans.

For this week’s Roundup, we’ll look at what pieces are being debated for inclusion in the budget reconciliation bill, and dispel the myths that claim we can’t afford to invest in our country by exposing them for what they really are – a thinly veiled attempt aimed at convincing you that it’s a bad idea to tax the rich.

What’s in the Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan by Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco
The details of Congress’ reconciliation bill are being hammered out in House committees this week, with new spending proposed to support families and public education, expand healthcare, and incentivize environmental responsibility, all funded without raising taxes on families making under $400,000/year, small businesses, or family farms. It’s important that we make sure that Democrats remain unwavering in their promise to cover these investments in the American people by taxing the rich, rather than placing the burden back onto hard working Americans.

How Democrats Can Make it Harder for Centrists to Downsize Biden’s Agenda by  Greg Sargent
Conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are fervently against the price tag attached to the new reconciliation bill, hiding behind the general sentiment that the US cannot afford the expense. While the specifics of both the spending and the funding mechanisms of the bill are being worked out, this argument is a ridiculous one. There is more than enough money to easily pay for a $3.5 trillion package by taxing the rich, all it requires is the political will to do so. If the Democrat party wants to put to rest the argument that we “can’t afford” the investments we are making in our country, they need to make peace with taxing the ultra-wealthy.

Democrats and Lobbyists Gird for Battle Over Far-Reaching Tax Increases by Jonathan Weisman, Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley
Opposition against raising taxes on the rich was anticipated, but one of the most vocal opponents being a former Democratic senator was rather unexpected. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota has joined the swarm of lobbyists descending on House Democrats in recent weeks hoping to limit Congress’ tax hikes on the wealthy, fighting to preserve a loophole that just a few months ago she called a “scam.” But while Democrats may be facing significant opposition from lobbyists and the corporate world, the American people overwhelmingly support raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.

Top 1 Percent Evade $163 Billion a Year in Taxes, Treasury Finds by Alan Rappeport
While we’re on the topic of raising taxes on the rich, just ensuring the rich pay the taxes they already owe would be a great place to start. The Treasury Department estimates that the tax gap, the amount in taxes owed that goes unpaid, reached $7 trillion over the last decade, and that the vast majority of that is from the mega wealthy. While ordinary folks have their taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks, the rich are able to use their wealth to hire accountants and lawyers to help them avoid paying as much as humanly possible. Increased IRS funding for enforcement of existing tax laws is a critical piece of the Democrats’ reconciliation plans.

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