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Paid family leave is dropped from the Biden bill because of rising tempers

Top Democrats indicated that a deal was possible on President Joe Biden’s huge domestic bill, but momentum stalled and tempers flared late Wednesday when a paid family leave plan fell through and a billionaires’ tax appeared to be scrapped. This was mainly to please a pivotal senator of the 50-50 Senate.

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Paid family leave is dropped from the Biden bill because of rising tempers

Biden will be heading to Capitol Hill Thursday morning to push Democratic lawmakers to get the Social Services and Climate Change Bill bills "over the finish line" before departing for the global summits.

There are still some elements of the package: an expansion in health care, pre-kindergarten free and $500 billion for climate change mitigation.

According to an anonymous source, Democrats are considering a new surcharge for the wealthy -- 5% on incomes over $10 million and 3% on those above $25 million -- to help cover it.

They are all within reach. Let's get these bills to the finish line," Biden tweeted Wednesday night.

Biden will give a speech Thursday morning to the House Democratic Caucus in an effort to push lawmakers towards that goal. A person who is familiar with the plan said this to The Associated Press under anonymity. The president wanted to press for party priorities and show foreign leaders that the U.S. is getting things done under his presidency.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that the administration was reviewing the situation "hour after hour."

Capitol Hill was moving quickly. It started with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring that Democrats were "pretty well in shape". But, hopes quickly faded when Biden's big proposal ran smack into new obstacles, including how to pay for it all.

According to a senior party aide who asked anonymity to discuss private discussions, a recently proposed tax on billionaires could be scrapped.

Although the tax proposal for billionaires was intended to win over Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, another Democratic holdout, Manchin attacked it as unfairly targeting wealthy people, leaving Democrats at odds.

Manchin stated that people in the stratosphere should be encouraged, and not penalized.

Manchin stated that he would prefer a minimum 15% flat "patriotic" tax to ensure that the richest Americans pay all taxes. He said, however, that he believes we must move forward.

A paid family leave program was next to fall. It was being considered, but it was cut back from 12 to 4 weeks in order to satisfy Manchin. The person stated that it was unlikely that the bill would include it due to Manchin's objections.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) had a number of new options for Manchin’s review. She told reporters late at night, "It's never over until it's done."

Sinema and Manchin's objections combined a powerful punch that tossed Biden's overall plan in flux, halving the $3.5 trillion package and angering colleagues.

Biden is dependent on all Democrats to support him in the evenly divided Senate.

White House officials met with Sinema and Manchin at the Capitol to decide whether or not Biden can fulfill the Democrats' key campaign promises.

Sinema declared, "Making Progress," as she ran into an elevator.

The Sunday deadline was set for approval of a smaller bipartisan bill on roads and bridges infrastructure. Otherwise, funds for routine transportation programs could be withdrawn. Progressive lawmakers are refusing support for the $1 trillion bill without the larger Biden deal.

Despite several deadlines, Democrats were unable to reach a deal between themselves. Republicans are strongly opposed to the package. The Democrats might be able to reach a framework Thursday which could allow Biden to go overseas with a deal in place and open the door for the final details.

Pelosi applied pressure and announced a Thursday hearing for the committee to push the Biden package towards a full House vote. However, timing was not clear.

Democrats hoped Wednesday's unveiling of the Billionaires Tax would help to resolve the revenue side. Sinema had rejected the party’s earlier proposal of repealing Trump-era tax cuts on corporations and wealthy individuals who earn more than $400,000.

The proposal of the new billionaires would tax gains made by those who have more than $1B in assets or more than $100M in incomes over three years. This would apply to fewer than 800 people and require them to pay taxes on gains from stocks and other tradeable assets.

The tax rate for billionaires would be the same as that of capital gains, currently 23.8%. Democrats claim it could generate $200 billion in revenue, which could be used to fund Biden's package for 10 years.

Republicans have called the tax on billionaires "harebrained" and others have suggested that it might be subject to legal challenges.

Senator Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee insisted that the billionaire tax be kept on the table.

Wyden stated that he has not heard any United States senator say "Gee, it's just fun billionaires pay little to nothing for years."

The companion proposal of a 15% corporate minimum tax and the proposed surtax on incomes higher than $10 million was more likely to be included in the mix.

Together, they will fulfill Biden's wish for the wealthy and big businesses to pay their fair share. They also match his promise of no new taxes on those earning less that $400,000 per year or $450,000 for married couples. Biden wants to pay for his entire package without adding debt.

As lawmakers work out how much money they can spend on Biden's new climate, child care, and health programs, it is crucial to resolve the revenue issue.

Representative Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, who is the chairman of Ways and Means Committee said that he had told Wyden that the tax on billionaires may be difficult to implement. Sinema's objections, he expects Democrats will continue to follow the approach of his panel, which merely raised rates on corporations and wealthy, undoing 2017's tax cuts.

Neal stated that there was a lot more anger over the tax on billionaires.

The House bill, which was approved by Neal's panel in the House, would see the highest individual income tax rate rise from 37% - 39.6% for those who earn more than $400,000 per year or $450,000 for couples. The corporate rate would rise from 21% to 26.5%.

The House bill also proposes an additional 3% surtax for the richest Americans with adjusted income above $5 million per year. Neal suggested that this could be increased to $10 million to appeal to the skeptics.

The senators are attempting to block the passage of legislation that would reduce, or even eliminate, policy priorities, including child care assistance and senior benefits such as hearing, vision, and dental aids.

Climate change strategies, once quite severe, are now less harsh on polluters than they were, as coal-state Manchin argued. Instead, the strategy focuses on rewarding clean energy incentives.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, stated: "You got 48 of 50 people backing an agenda that works in the American people's favor."

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