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As Senate Democrats return to Washington, divisions remain over a spending bill.

Credit…TJ Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Senate Democrats will return from their summer recess on Monday to confront divisions within the party over the scope and structure of a $ 3.5 trillion economic policy bill, as the House rushes to finish to concoct the package in the coming weeks.

House Democrats have been pushing to consult around the details of the proposal, including releasing their opening proposal on Monday for tax increases on corporations and high net worth individuals, but a number of hurdles remain to be seen. overcome to ensure that the package can clear the chamber as early as this month. Democratic senators will likely use a caucus lunch on Tuesday to go over the work that was completed during the recess. House committees continue to regularly advance bills.

But the deep differences, including disagreement over the size and funding of the package, have been escalating for months. Democrats, with very slim majorities in both chambers, are using an obscure budget process known as reconciliation to shield the larger package from Republican obstruction in the Senate and push forward what could be the most important expansion social safety net since the 1960s.

The differences are most noticeable when it comes to the income provision, as moderate Democrats resist some of the sweeping tax increases proposed by Mr. Biden and the Liberal Democrats.

The House Democrats’ proposal would raise the corporate tax rate to 26.5% for the wealthiest businesses and impose an additional surtax on individuals earning more than $ 5 million. But it’s unclear how much that will change in the coming weeks, as people have informed details that the text may still change to get enough Democratic votes.

Key representatives from the opposing wings of the caucus appeared on several news broadcasts Sunday morning to defend their positions ahead of the return of the Senate.

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin III reiterated that he would not support the $ 3.5 trillion spending, saying Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York “will not have my vote “on a package of this size.

“Chuck knows it – we’ve talked about it,” Mr. Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union”. “We’ve tried to help Americans in any way we can, and a lot of the help we’ve provided is still there, and it will be clear until next year, 2022, so what is the emergency?”

He also expressed skepticism that the legislation would be completed by the end of the month, adding that the rushed deadline “does not make sense” and expressed concern over certain tax and tax provisions. clean energy.

But when asked later about “the state of the union” on Mr Manchin’s comments, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who heads the budget committee, said “it doesn’t. is absolutely not acceptable to me ‘to reduce the size of the package.

“I don’t think this is acceptable to the president, to the American people or to the overwhelming majority of people in the Democratic caucus,” he added. “A lot of us made a major compromise by going from the $ 6 trillion bill that we wanted.”

California President Nancy Pelosi has pledged to vote Sept. 27 on the bipartisan infrastructure package in the House, and Democrats hope they will complete the second economic package by then. The Senate’s senior rule enforcement official has also started hearing arguments over whether certain provisions of the $ 3.5 trillion bill meet the strict rules that govern the reconciliation process.

Senior leaders will also soon face a possible cutoff in government funding on October 1 if Congress fails to act, as well as the looming deadline to prevent the federal government from defaulting on the national debt.

As Senate Democrats return to Washington, divisions remain over a spending bill.
Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

California residents have two more days to decisively reject a Republican takeover of the nation’s largest and most powerful Democratic stronghold, according to Governor Gavin Newsom.

His main rival, Tory radio host Larry Elder, has vowed his first moves as governor will be to lift vaccines and hide the mandates Mr Newsom has put in place. Mr Newsom says his policies have helped California begin to recover from the worst of the pandemic. The recall election, he repeatedly said, “is a matter of life and death.”

President Biden is expected to join the governor in Long Beach on Monday to advocate his case – the latest in a series of national Democratic leaders to offer their support in the final days of the campaign to help Newsom keep his job.

Opponents of the governor, meanwhile, say Mr Newsom, facing a serious threat to his political career, is only reaping what he has sown amid a pandemic that has shut down businesses and shut down children. to go to class.

Mr. Elder was making his last push. On Sunday, he held a press conference with actor Rose McGowan, who accused Mr Newsom’s wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom of trying to bribe her to prevent him from publicly disclosing his assault allegations sexual against Harvey Weinstein. A spokesperson for Ms. Siebel Newsom told ABC News the allegation was “a complete fabrication.”

Mr Elder said he continued to describe his candidacy as one meant to save Californians, as he tweet it on Sunday, the chaos, failure and corruption of the Newsom administration and appealing to voters frustrated by the restrictions related to the pandemic, homelessness and crime.

In front of the voters, two apparently simple questions are asked: Should Mr. Newsom be removed from his post? And if so, who should replace it?

Recent polls and voter turnout data suggest a victory for Mr Newsom is likely.

Which means analysts will be focusing their attention on the details for the next few days: Will there be a final wave of in-person votes from Republicans who have been dissuaded from dropping their ballots in the mail by baseless allegations? but widespread electoral fraud? What support will each of the top Republican candidates get? If he wins, will Mr Newsom emerge more powerful, with a strong base keen to re-elect him next year? Or will he be vulnerable, either to a Republican challenger, or to Democrats who think they can better mobilize first-time voters, young and Latinos?

Although over 35% of active and registered California voters have already voted, tomorrow night is the deadline.

As Senate Democrats return to Washington, divisions remain over a spending bill.
Credit…Vivien Killilea / Getty Images

Emily’s List, the fundraising powerhouse that helped elect hundreds of women who support abortion rights, has chosen Laphonza Butler, a former labor leader and well-connected Democratic strategist in California, as its next president.

Ms Butler, 42, who grew up in southern Mississippi, will be the first woman of color – and the first mother – to lead the organization, one of the nation’s most influential political action committees.

She will take over Emily’s roster at a particularly difficult time, with Democrats facing the twin challenges of a tough midterm election and the most basic and widespread threats to abortion rights since the Court Supreme established a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973..

In an interview, Ms Butler said she believed new abortion restrictions enacted in Texas and impending in other states would energize Democratic women, providing both a red flag and a powerful line of action. attack for candidates backed by Emily’s List.

As Senate Democrats return to Washington, divisions remain over a spending bill.
Credit… Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

More than 500,000 student borrowers – with nearly $ 10 billion in student loan debt – have had their loans written off this year, Stacy Cowley reports for The New York Times.

President Biden has so far pushed back calls for the kind of blanket debt cancellation that is a top priority for many progressive lawmakers, but a parade of relatively modest improvements in eligibility and relief are being added. to a significant expansion of support for besieged borrowers. And more may be to come: The Education Department has said it is planning regulatory changes to programs to help public servants and people on income-tested reimbursement plans.

There are plenty of incentives for the federal government – the largest lender to Americans who borrow for college, holding $ 1.4 trillion in debt owed by 43 million borrowers – to quickly fix failing aid programs. Since the pandemic took hold in March 2020, virtually all of these loans have been on an interest-free hiatus, which is expected to end on January 31. And each loan released is one less loan for the agency.

The ministry’s actions so far have generated little controversy – few oppose giving military personnel, disabled borrowers and defrauded students the relief to which they are legally entitled – but the idea of ​​canceling more broadly, student debt is a lightning rod. Republicans don’t like the idea of ​​putting the cost on taxpayers, and its left-wing critics see it as a subsidy for those with expensive professional degrees.

“Our overall goal is permanent change,” said Kelly Leon, spokesperson for the Department of Education. “We are building a student loan system that works for borrowers and provides them with the congressional relief that has been elusive for too long.”

The push for widespread debt cancellation has eclipsed calls to address glaring administrative issues that urgently need to be addressed, advocates say. READ ARTICLE →

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