Where the White House economic plan stands: From taxes to health to climate to immigration

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill last month. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Even as negotiations over President Biden’s economic package continue, Democratic officials have started signaling which parts of the White House agenda could be cut from the legislation and which are likely to be approved.

Biden, for instance, said on Thursday night that his plan to create universal free community college had fallen out of the bill. The president acknowledged his new clean energy plan to incentivize utility firms to move away from fossil fuels is in danger of being jettisoned. By contrast, universal prekindergarten and a national child-care program are widely seen as all but guaranteed to be included, enjoying the backing of the Democratic caucus.

The bill is also likely to retain significantly smaller versions of a wide range of Biden’s proposals, such as initial plans to provide roughly $300 billion for housing and homelessness, $400 billion on elder care for seniors and $450 billion for the child tax credit. Each initiative stands to be cut from anywhere from a third to a half of their initial proposed amounts, though estimates on how much vary by significant margins.

White House faces grueling choices as it debates cuts to economic plan

And while a higher corporate tax rate may be out of a deal, because of the demands of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a new tax on billionaires’ accrued wealth is newly in play as part of potentially significant shifts in Democrats’ tax plans to fund the legislation.

The emerging changes to the package come as Biden this week told House Democrats that the legislation may have to spend up to $1.9 trillion. The White House and Democratic officials initially agreed to a $3.5 trillion plan — itself smaller than what the administration had initially pitched — and House Democrats’ version of the bill costs as much as $4.5 trillion, experts say.

Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) have been adamant that overall spending figures must be dramatically cut, forcing difficult decisions about which programs to shrink or eliminate. But Democrats are also worried that failure to reach an agreement could lead to no bill at all being passed, a potentially calamitous outcome for the party.

Below is a rough rundown of where key provisions surrounding the bill stand, based on interviews with more than a dozen congressional aides, lobbyists and administration officials with knowledge of the negotiations. These people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, stressed that negotiations are moving very swiftly and key provisions could change.

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