Democrats reach agreement on drug price, Biden is optimistic about Manchin

On Tuesday, Democrats reached agreement on a plan to cut the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, cap Medicare out-of-pocket spending at $ 2,000, and cut the price of insulin, while maintaining a campaign promise as part of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy proposal of $ 1. , $ 75 trillion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the deal, which is one of the few remaining clauses that need to be settled in Biden’s big proposal package as the party approaches the end of negotiations. Schumer acknowledged that this was not as radical as the Democrats had hoped, but a compromise was reached with one key opposition Democrat, Senator Kirsten Cinema of Arizona.

And Biden is optimistic that he has garnered the general support of another opponent, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who this week thwarted the president’s plan by refusing to back him.

“He will vote for that,” Biden said of Manchin during a speech at the Global Climate Summit in Scotland.

Biden said, without divulging their private conversations, the senator was looking for small details of the law. “But I think we’ll get to that,” the president said.

Democrats rush to overcome the party battles and complete the final version of the Biden plan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said privately that she expects to complete the final draft by noon and set the stage for a vote on the overall package as early as Thursday, according to her comments in a closed session. But no votes have been scheduled.

The stakes are high as Democrats on Tuesday wary of the gubernatorial elections in two states – Virginia and New Jersey – that are seen as conductors of electorate political sentiment. Democrats are struggling to keep states that recently favored the Republican party.

The blame points to everyone, as negotiations on Biden’s ambitious package drag on and Democrats fail to pass legislation. Progressive and centrist lawmakers, especially Manchin and Sinema, debated the details of the huge 1,600-page package.

“I think most people think the situation is like this:“ Okay, we chose the Democrats to have a majority in the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. They have to work towards their goal, ”said Democratic Party spokesman Elaine Luria, representing“ the wavering neighborhood in Virginia, ”the Capitol told reporters.

Nonetheless, Democrats supported at least one unsettled provision, a prescription drug deal, which was dropped from the Biden system as a result of Democrats’ years of efforts to cut pharmaceutical costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices.

“This is not all we all want. Many of us would like to go much further, but this is a big step in helping the American people cope with drug prices, ”Schumer said at the Capitol.

Schumer said that for the first time Medicare will be able to negotiate prescription drug prices under its Part B and Part D programs. consumers from blatant annual price increases, ”he said.

Democrats later announced that insulin prices would fall from $ 600 per dose to $ 35. Fines imposed on drug manufacturers for price increases above the inflation rate will be retroactive until October 1.

The Sinema office issued a statement saying the Senator “welcomes the new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will cut cash spending for seniors.”

AARP, an influential organization for older Americans, has expressed support, awaiting details. CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said in a statement that “there is no bigger problem affecting the Medicare wallets of seniors than the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs.”

Despite attempts to build momentum, Manchin stepped into the new uncertainty on Monday, again publicly doubting whether he would support the party’s ambitious efforts.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat was an unreliable partner for Biden’s grand vision, raising questions and concerns about the president’s plans to expand health care, childcare and other social services and tackle climate change.

Manchin’s views angered some lawmakers, who were tired of his protests, but inspired others, especially progressive ones, to speed up the vote. Manchin also showed no signs of softening Tuesday, despite widespread criticism of one senator’s power to uphold the party’s domestic priority.

“It will be awhile,” Manchin said in brief comments on Tuesday at the Capitol.

In the face of strong opposition from Republicans and a lack of excess votes, Democrats are trying to unite progressive and centrist lawmakers around Biden’s vision.

Pelosi told Democrats in a closed session on Tuesday that “hopefully by noon” they can “freeze” the design of the bill. She announced a possible vote as early as Thursday. The comments were forwarded by someone familiar with her comments, who wished to remain anonymous in order to talk about a private meeting.

“I think we are going to pass both bills – hopefully this week we will resolve the still unresolved differences,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democracy, said at the Capitol.

Rather than reassuring his progressive colleagues that he is on board, Manchin reiterated his long-standing concerns on Monday. He then called on progressive supporters to abandon the “hostages” of a smaller, $ 1 trillion public works bill, which they held as leverage while negotiations for a broader package continued.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington, a progressive leader, said, “I don’t know what Senator Manchin is thinking, but we’re going to get both bills through the House of Representatives and we’re going to make transformative changes. People. “

Last week, Biden unveiled the package’s structure, significant investments in social services programs and climate change strategies, but Democrats are trying to negotiate changes in immigration laws and other recent updates.

The $ 1.75 trillion package is becoming more affordable and will help vast numbers of Americans pay for health care, education, parenting, and care for the elderly in their homes. It will also provide about $ 555 billion in tax breaks that encourage cleaner energy and electrified vehicles, the country’s largest commitment to fighting climate change.

Most of its costs will come from higher taxes for people making more than $ 10 million a year and large corporations, which will now face a 15% minimum tax in an effort to prevent large businesses from claiming so many deductions that they end up pay zero taxes.

Some moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives have said they want to see a final assessment by the Congressional Budget Office, which will offer a non-partisan review of all budget spending on the bill before voting.

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