American Opinion: New budget deal would be a big win for Congress — and the country

From the editorial: Plenty of details remain to be ironed out, of course, and serious pitfalls still lie ahead. But all told, this compromise would be big win for Democrats, for the White House and — not least — for the U.S. taxpayer.

Sen. Joe Manchin, left, talks with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 15, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Joe Manchin, left, talks with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 15, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS
We are part of The Trust Project.

Rather unexpectedly, the 117th Congress is shaping up to be one of the most productive in recent memory. A new compromise reached by Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could prove to be its most significant achievement yet.

American Opinion
American Opinion
Tribune graphic / Forum News Service
More American Opinion:
The Justice Department should ask Cannon to recuse herself, and if she refuses, it should appeal for reassignment of the case.
From the editorial: The right to marry whom you love should not be subject to the whims of an out-of-step conservative court or be left to a patchwork of state regulations. Congress must make the Respect for Marriage Act the law of the land.
From American Opinion editorial: Enter the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force, a nationwide effort that’s being made to investigate and take legal action against companies who bring foreign robocalls into the United States. The coalition includes attorneys general from all 50 states.
From the American Opinioin editorial: Late in 2021, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland formally created a process to replace derogatory names of geographic features across the nation. She declared the word “squaw” to be derogatory and ordered a federal panel — called the Board on Geographic Names — to move forward with procedures to remove that word from federal usage.

After months of often-acrimonious debate over President Joe Biden’s "Build Back Better" plan, Democrats have apparently ditched the sobriquet in favor of the substance. The new deal, intended to be passed along party lines in accordance with the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules, would accomplish nearly all of the most important goals of Biden’s initial proposal without its most controversial baggage. It would offer some $433 billion in new spending, bring in $739 billion in revenue and reduce deficits by $300 billion over a decade.

Promisingly, the proposed spending is well focused. A summary of the deal Democrats put out on Wednesday says it would offer fully $369 billion for climate and energy proposals, the most urgent parts of Biden’s original $3.5 trillion proposal. That should turbocharge the administration’s plans to reduce carbon emissions and lay the groundwork for a clean energy economy, while avoiding some of its less defensible outlays. The new bargain would also put $64 billion toward extending COVID-era subsidies for Obamacare health insurance, thus helping millions of Americans avoid significant premium increases.

More or less true to its grandiose name — the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — the proposal also takes budgetary restraint more seriously than its predecessors in this Congress. To raise revenue, it would establish a 15% corporate minimum tax for large companies, allot $124 billion to the IRS for enhanced tax enforcement, and close the so-called carried interest loophole, which allows investment fund managers to pay income taxes at a preferential rate. Realistically, such reforms will be subject to plenty of gamesmanship and gimmickry going forward. But this is a sober attempt at fiscal responsibility.

Perhaps more consequentially, the plan would remove a legal prohibition that has long prevented Medicare from bargaining with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the 49 million Americans in its drug insurance program. This barrier has kept U.S. drug prices the highest in the world — $1,300 per person per year, on average. A previous proposal along these lines was expected to save taxpayers almost $290 billion through 2031, with greater savings in subsequent years as more drugs become eligible for negotiation. Advancing this reform alone would’ve been a momentous achievement.


More Opinion:
Editorial cartoonist Dave Granlund draws on the continuation of gun violence in America.
When Katie Pinke directed her daughter to a beef expert in preparation for her speech meet, it made her think about the need for trusted ag sources of information.
From the commentary: To be clear, their questions are mainly about determining the best way to deliver care to teens — not about the value of treatment itself.
From the commentary: Businesses are already struggling under the extraordinary cost of doing business in Minnesota.
From the editorial: First, public debt cannot safely be allowed to keep rising at the projected rate. Second, purporting to solve this problem by threatening to default on the country’s obligations is nuts.
Editorial cartoonist John Darkow draws on Joe Biden's continued classified documents discoveries.
From the commentary: Today, many Confederate memorials are being curated with markers being erected nearby to tell the story of how the Lost Cause was mythologized. Stone Mountain would certainly need a big marker. Or, a museum.
From the commentary: For many, politics is either an aphrodisiac, or a drug. Both are addictive and difficult to break free from.
Why is it that women’s hygiene products are not offered for free in school bathrooms?
Editorial cartoonist Monte Wolverton draws on Ron Desantis' whitewashing of Black History.

Plenty of details remain to be ironed out, of course, and serious pitfalls still lie ahead. But all told, this compromise would be big win for Democrats, for the White House and — not least — for the U.S. taxpayer. As America's loquacious president once said in another context, it’s a big effing deal.

This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the Bloomberg Opinion Editorial Board.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

What To Read Next
From the editorial: Although multiple New York GOP House members have urged Santos to resign, the party’s far-right House membership is pulling him into their fold. Should Americans be surprised?
From the editorial: The White House is refusing — as it should — to negotiate with this fiscal gun to its head. Negotiating with terrorists is never wise.
From the editorial: (This is another step away from true government transparency, similar to the Kandiyohi County Board's public notice decision in January to eliminate its public notice distribution to nearly 70% of the county's households. County board chair Roger Ibdieke says the county's public notices are available on its website. A Tribune reader commented on Wednesday, "My understanding is that public notices are available on the website. However, I was unable to find them.")
From the editorial: The man the voters elected bears little resemblance to the disgraced and diminished figure who now puts on a brave face.