“For a long time, this economy’s worked great for those at the very top,” Biden said in a speech Thursday at the White House. “This our moment to deal working people back into the economy.”
Biden faulted Republicans for attacking his plan, but his remarks were aimed to unite Democrats around the struggles of middle class families. The president highlighted the prices of prescription drugs, hearing aids, gas, meat and high-speed internet, as well as the general costs of raising a child.
The recent back-and-forth on Capitol Hill has shown the limits of Biden’s power to guide the $3.5 trillion plan through a narrowly divided Congress. Moderate Democrats have balked at recent efforts to negotiate on drug prices and to impose a new tax on the assets of the wealthiest people, measures that progressives applaud.
The White House can only afford to lose the support of three House Democrats for the package to pass; it needs all Democratic votes in the Senate.
On Wednesday, Biden hosted two moderate Democratic senators --
White House aides have spent the last several days negotiating and speaking with lawmakers and top staffers to weigh various options to raise enough money to fully fund Biden’s plan and ensure as many big policies as possible survive the legislative process.
“That isn’t about raising your taxes,” said Biden. “It’s about the super wealthy finally beginning to pay what they owe.”
Progressives have been disappointed as House Democratic lawmakers shied away from ideas like taxing the increase of wealthy people’s assets at death -- a key pillar of Biden’s attempts to reduce income inequality. Just this week, after intense lobbying from the health-care industry, a handful of moderate Democrats also backed away from efforts to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.
--With assistance from
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