4 other Democratic rooms where the Senate Rules Arbitrator can denounce
What the parliamentarian leaves or forces beyond the measure of several trillions of dollars could have huge consequences for his ultimate success and Biden’s legacy. And the arbitrator has already thwarted the Democrats’ plans, most notably when she ruled out a minimum wage hike for a coronavirus aid bill they passed earlier this year using reconciliation.
Here are four other issues on which to monitor parliamentary decisions as legislation takes shape:
A boost for organizational efforts: With their signature legislation revising federal labor law and promoting unions stranded in the Senate, Democrats are considering inserting parts of this bill into their social spending program. These policies notably allow the National Labor Relations Board to impose new sanctions on employers for a range of unfair labor practices.
Supporters of the measure argue that there is precedent for including new fines in a bill passed using reconciliation, including a 1993 budget bill that allowed a penalty for cigarette makers who imported too much tobacco. Most recently, the parliamentarian allowed Republicans to denigrate the affordable care law’s insurance mandate by reducing the penalty to zero.
âThey went from something to nothing,â said David Madland, senior researcher at the liberal Center for American Progress. âIf you did that, you could do the opposite. ”
Republicans, however, say the new monetary fines fall short of parliamentarian’s standards because they amount to a rewrite of federal labor law.
Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler Mendelson’s Workplace Policy Institute, which advocates on behalf of employers to Congress and federal agencies, said the debate would come down to “whether or not it’s really designed, despite the fact that they put lipstick on it, as a fundamental policy change.
Drug prices and the private sector: Democrats’ hopes of raising hundreds of billions of dollars in federal savings through prescription drug price negotiations are also called into question amid reports that Republican senators could challenge a key provision.
Progressives in the House and Senate are bracing for a plan that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, penalize drug companies that raise prices faster than inflation, and apply both policies to drug plans equally. private insurance, including for people participating in Obamacare scholarships and obtaining their insurance. through work. Yet the latter group could be breaking parliamentary rules, with some lawmakers questioning whether falling drug prices and capping price increases in commercial markets have a sufficient direct impact on federal spending.
Businesses and legislators are already sounding the alarm on the possible consequences of excluding people from employer-sponsored health insurance. They fear that if the parliamentarian rescinds this provision, drug companies will raise the prices of employer plans to make up for what they lose once Medicare begins paying less.
“It would be extremely worrying,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), A House leader in the push, in an interview. âOur private employers and their workers are now paying in the nose for health care, so we really need to be successful in bringing down drug prices not only for Medicare, but for the private sector as well.â
Advocates of the larger effort argue that the federal government subsidize private plans, so anything that lowers overall costs would save taxpayer dollars.
Force utilities to prioritize clean energy: A central element of the Democratic climate plan is also heading towards a confrontation with the parliamentarian. Designed by Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), The Clean Electricity Performance Program pays utilities for steadily increasing their sources of clean energy while penalizing those who don’t.
Republicans may try to remove certain provisions from the program by claiming that they violate the rules of reconciliation. For example, the design of the program would restrict how utilities could spend federal payments, requiring them to use the money in areas such as direct consumer assistance, worker retention, and energy investments. own. Such limitations, some Republicans argue, do not directly affect federal revenues and should therefore be rejected, a move that could undermine the political advantage of the entire company.
Democrats are confident in the parliamentary survival of the clean electricity program, which was specifically developed to comply with fiscal rules. An independent report commissioned by two environmental groups found the policy would create 7.7 million new jobs and add nearly $ 1 trillion to the economy by 2031.
“The reasons it is structured the way it is is to abide by these rules and make sure it is largely math and not open politics,” the senator said. Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) in July.
Workers’ protections for paid leave: Democrats have already scaled back their worker protection dreams in the package to avoid last-minute problems with the parliamentarian. But even their fallback strategy might not work.
Party leaders are working to include a paid family and medical leave program in the spending program. Ensuring that employers cannot fire workers for taking this leave is difficult to achieve under fiscal rules, however.
The leave proposal that House Democrats rolled out this month would not include job protection except as a condition of subsidies to employers and workers already covered by existing federal law. This means that about 40 percent of American workers would have no guarantee that their jobs would be waiting for them when they returned from paid vacation. And the parliamentarian could always override the protections House lawmakers have tied to the funding of the grant.
âPart of the challenge of managing this is that we have very different rules of procedure than the House,â said Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Of the language of paid time off in an interview.
Alice Miranda Ollstein, Jennifer Scholtes, Eleanor Mueller, Brian Faler and Rebecca Rainey contributed to this report.