Democrats clash in Senate over Sanders proposal

Tensions simmered on the Senate floor early Sunday as members clashed in an overnight voting marathon on a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to reinstate the government’s expanded child tax credit. left.

Sanders offered an amendment to revive the Expanded Credit, which expired late last year, as part of Democrats’ sprawling tax, health care and climate bill, dubbed the Climate Act. reduction in inflation. But the Vermont Independent was the only one to back the review, as it ultimately failed in a 1-97 vote.

The vote came as the Senate cowered for an hours-long vote, one of the last key hurdles Democrats must clear to secure passage of their mammoth bill. During the often grueling and drawn-out voting session, any senator has the opportunity to force a floor vote on an amendment.

In remarks on the floor ahead of Sunday’s vote, Sanders said the amendment seeks to reinstate a temporary credit extension that was enacted in the US Bailout, a sweeping coronavirus relief package enacted by Democrats l ‘last year.

“Pathetically, the United States has the highest child poverty rate of almost any major country on the planet, and it’s especially high among young people of color,” Sanders said. “It’s the richest nation on the planet, we shouldn’t have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country.”

“The US bailout included a $300-a-month child tax credit that ended up reducing America’s child poverty rate by more than 40%,” Sanders added, noting that his amendment would restore the credit. expanded for four years and “would be fully paid for by restoring the top corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

Sanders’ decision prompted an immediate pushback from Democrats ahead of the vote on the amendment, who voiced support for the child tax credit provision itself but stressed they could not support the change in order to protect the final pass on the full package.

“Sen. Sanders is right, the Child Tax Credit is one of the most important things this organization has done. It dropped the child poverty rate by 40% almost immediately,” the senator said. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who has long advocated for expanded appropriation renewal, but urged his colleagues not to vote for the amendment to avoid “killing the bill.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) issued a similar memo, promising to work with his colleagues to move the provision forward, but arguing that it should not be moved to the climate, tax and health bill. Healthcare.

“We have to fight to make this enhanced child tax credit permanent and that’s what I will do with people on both sides of the aisle. But that doesn’t advance this cause because we could lose the underlying bill and therefore we would have to vote against the amendment,” the Colorado Democrat said.

But Sanders appeared dissatisfied with the positions of his colleagues. He fired back at Brown, asking why passing the amendment or allowing 48 Democrats to vote for him would cause the bill to fail.

The Ohio Democrat pointed to the tenuous nature of passing legislation through budget reconciliation in an evenly divided Senate, which requires all Democrats to sign the bill to clear the chamber. If the amendment were added to the bill, it could jeopardize final passage by deterring an MP from supporting the entire legislation.

Ahead of the weekend’s marathon debate, a number of Democrats have pledged to vote against any proposed amendment — even if they agree with the premise of the change — to preserve his chances of passing the bill. law.

“The deal in this case is for all 50 Democrats to support it. We know that every Republican voted against the child tax credit not once last March, but twice, but we know it’s This is a fragile arrangement and we need to embrace it, as much as I would love to do, as does Senator Bennet,” Brown said.

At the end of his speech, the senator could be heard saying, “Come on, Bernie.

The amendment was one of several ambitious proposals Sanders presented early Sunday, all of which were overwhelmingly rejected. He brought them up hours after criticizing Democrats’ Cut Inflation Act for not going far enough on key issues such as health care, child care and housing.

Sanders also proposed measures to ensure Medicare does not pay more for prescription drugs than the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and to expand Medicare coverage to include dental, oral, hearing and vision benefits as as potential changes to the package.

The VA-related review failed in a 1-99 vote, with Sanders the only member to vote in favour. Sanders’ proposed Medicare expansion change failed 3-97, after Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who faces a tough re-election campaign in November, and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) joined the Vermont progressive in voting for him.

Sanders has also introduced amendments to create a Civilian Climate Corps and another he says aims to target the fossil fuel industry in the bill. Although both came up short in 1-98 and 1-99 votes, respectively.

Sanders’ amendments came as no surprise, as the senator has repeatedly expressed frustration with the Cut Inflation Act, which is significantly scaled back from the previous Build Back Better Act. Democrats that the Vermont senator pushed through last year.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) announced an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) on the small bill in late July, months after talks on the larger plan due to opposition from centrist West Virginia. .

In remarks ahead of Saturday’s vote-a-rama, Sanders released a list of complaints about the slimmed-down bill, which he said “does not address the reality that today we have more inequality in income and wealth than at any time in the last hundred years.”

“This bill does nothing to address the systemic dysfunction of America’s health care system,” he also said, while criticizing the bill for not doing more to address child poverty rates across the country. country or the “major housing crisis”.

Updated at 11:51 a.m.

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