What's in, and what's out, as Democrats reshape Biden bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of talks, Democrats are edging closer to an agreement on what programs and policies to include in President Joe Biden's massive plan to expand health and safety net programs and combat global warming.
The plan seems likely to include universal preschool, paid family leave and the continuation of a child tax credit that was increased earlier this year and applied to more families. Democrats are scaling back some investments or shortening the timeframe for when those programs would be up and running to fit within an approximately $2 trillion budget over 10 years, rather than the $3.5 trillion budget plan originally envisioned.
Still, Democrats are hoping the programs will prove so popular that future Congresses will continue to fund them in the years ahead. It seems unlikely that any Republican will support the measure.
Negotiations are fluid and the package is very much in flux. It also won't be possible to fully assess the details until legislative text is released. But here's where the bill stands so far, according to lawmakers and aides:
— A child tax credit increase would continue for another year. As part of a COVID relief bill, Democrats increased the tax credit to $3,000 per child age 6-17 and $3,600 per child age 5 and under. Limiting the program to one year would disappoint many of its backers, but they are hoping the program’s popularity will move Congress to extend it in the years ahead. Budget hawks worry that a one-year extension is a budgetary tool that will lower the cost of the program on paper, but mask its true costs since lawmakers tend to continue programs rather than let them expire.
— Plans to expand Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing aids are being pared back. Biden said he likes the idea, but with Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia...