The collapse of plans to include climate and tax legislation in a bill Democrats can pass this summer through the Senate with 51 votes has set off a scramble among Democrats to squeeze other priorities into the package.  

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) says she wants money for more COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, which would cost at least $10 billion.  

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is pushing for money to fund international COVID-19 vaccination efforts, which is projected to cost another $5 billion.  

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to expand the prescription drug reform language to cover more medications.  

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is still agitating for more money for affordable housing, something that is becoming a more urgent because of rising mortgage and rent costs.

And Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a close Biden ally, is still pushing for tens of billions of dollars to fund long-term health care for the elderly and disabled.  

The competing priorities will come crashing into each other over the next two weeks as Democrats make a final push to pass a budget reconciliation package before the August recess.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is intent on passing it early next month to help stave off raising health care premiums, which is projected to start happening in mid-August. 

In reviving negotiations earlier this summer, Democrats had hoped the reconciliation package would include climate and tax provisions and were negotiating the components with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). But Manchin earlier this month scuttled those hopes and said he’d “unequivocally” support only a narrow package.

Schumer and Manchin have agreed to move a slimmed-down package that includes prescription drug reform and a two-year extension of Affordable Care Act premium subsidies.  
Source: The Hill
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