Chuck Schumer Readying Scaled Down Build Back Better Bill

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will submit text on Wednesday for a scaled-down Build Back Better bill, that would still aim to combat alleged climate change, lower drug prices, and raise taxes.

Schumer will submit text to the Senate parliamentarian that reflects an agreement among all Senate Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who previously blocked the larger Build Back Better bill, to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.

The parliamentarian will start the “Byrd Bath” review to ensure that the bill complies with the Senate rules around budgetary reconciliation, a process that allows for the Senate to pass spending bills with only a simple majority, or 51 votes.

The rest of the package, informally known as “Build Back Manchin,” is still being crafted.

The other provisions would likely include climate change and energy provisions and tax reform, which would likely amend the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to pay for the other provisions in the bill.

Schumer’s move on Wednesday does not mean that they have Senate Democrat-wide agreement on the proposal, however, it serves as a significant step to reviving one of President Joe Biden’s signature bills that failed to pass through the Senate this term.

The proposal, according to Punchbowl News, would:

 allow Medicare to begin negotiating on the price of prescription drugs in 2023, according to a summary of the provisions obtained by Punchbowl News.

The plan caps a patient’s out-of-pocket costs as $2,000 per year, with the ability to make monthly payments. There will be an “inflation rebate” to cover “arbitrary and unjustified price increases on products” that don’t change year-to-year, with drug companies forced to make up the difference if they raise prices beyond inflation.

Also included: a “premium stabilization policy” to hold down annual premium increases. “The bill changes that dynamic by incentivizing manufacturers and insurers to keep drug prices down, and puts them on the hook for higher drug prices and spending,” the summary of the legislation says.

Seniors will get free vaccines, and premium and co-pay assistance for low-income individuals will be expanded.

And one major new provision would end the “rogue secretary loophole.” Meaning a future GOP administration must continue to negotiate on Medicare drug prices.

It remains unclear if the bill would contain a provision that would extend enhanced Obamacare premium subsidies. Biden expanded Obamacare subsidies under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, his coronavirus aid bill. Without the enhanced subsidies, millions of Americans could experience a premium hike as high as 50 percent.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised that if Democrats move forward on the reconciliation, the United States Innovation and Competition (USICA) Act will not receive Republican votes to help the bill pass.

The bill has been derided by conservatives as failing to boost American competitiveness with China, and contains many woke carveouts, would grant amnesty, and would enact climate change regulations.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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