Senate Democrats head toward pivotal vote with climate agenda intact article

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Ron Wyden

Democrats’ health care, tax and climate bill is heading for a key procedural vote on Saturday with energy provisions like an electric vehicle tax credit intact — but no answers yet on whether drug pricing reforms can stay in the package.

The Senate parliamentarian — the upper chamber’s nonpartisan rules referee — has not said whether the prescription drug provisions meet strict budget rules allowing Democrats to pass their signature spending package without the threat of a GOP filibuster. The Senate is set to convene at noon on Saturday, with a pivotal vote to move forward on the bill expected later in the afternoon.

Some budget experts had surmised that certain conditions placed on the electric vehicle tax credits, including restrictions on where car battery materials must be sourced, ran afoul of the budget rules guiding the process that Democrats are using to pass their bill with a simple majority and evade a filibuster.

Under the current proposal, a car is only eligible for full credit if the batteries were made with materials from the U.S. or countries that have trade agreements with the U.S. — a requirement that some experts argue will make it very difficult to obtain the tax credit.But those provisions can apparently remain in the package — a decision likely to please Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who wanted the restrictions in order to curb the electric vehicle industry’s reliance on China.“The Finance Committee’s clean energy tax package adheres to Senate rules, and important provisions to ensure our clean energy future is built in America have been approved by the parliamentarian,” Wyden said in a statement. “I’m especially pleased that our prevailing wage provisions were approved. These provisions guarantee wage rates for clean energy projects. Clean energy jobs will be good-paying jobs.”

 

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