$3.5T spending package includes big money for ‘tree equity,’ bias training and more

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Republicans, some leading Democrats call extra spending unnecessary

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About $79 billion for the IRS, $12 billion for electric cars, $3 billion for “tree equity”, $1 billion to convert government facilities into “high-performance green buildings,” and for gender identity issues and bias training New funding – Granthshala News can now reveal these and other controversial spending items in Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package, following the House budget committee’s release and approval of the full draft legislation on Saturday.

controversial spending

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Among the most controversial provisions, the bill promotes substantial funding to the Internal Revenue Service, which stands to receive an additional $78.94 billion over the next 10 years. The money will help the IRS strengthen tax enforcement activities, expand audits, and modernize its technology. An additional $410 million will go to IRS oversight.

Democrats are also putting equity at the center of the bill. The Agriculture Committee has earmarked $3 billion for the tree planting program “with a priority for projects that increase tree equity.” The legislation dishes out another $4 billion for “neighborhood access and equity grants.” Meanwhile, its “Electric Vehicle Charging Equity Program” comes with a $1 billion price tag.

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The Bill generally does not elaborate on the meaning of equity in this context, however. american forest defines “tree equity”, for example, as a tree planting program that “identifies cities that can achieve the most significant health, economic and climate benefits by growing tree canopy in places of high need. “

The legislation would add billions of dollars in climate change funding, starting with the “Citizens Climate Corps,” which would receive at least $7.5 billion in multiple committee budgets. The organization, which President Biden has placed at the top of his climate wish list, will employ thousands of youth to carry out projects related to conservation and climate change on public lands.

$5 billion for environmental and “climate justice” block grants given to disadvantaged communities, $1.4 billion in climate change research and $300 million for the federal government to make more efficient and effective environmental reviews by hiring more people and purchasing new equipment is to do. Measure.

The federal government itself stands to benefit significantly from climate initiatives. Democrats have pushed $12 billion to buy electric cars and related infrastructure for the federal fleet, of which at least $7 billion will go toward upgrading the U.S. Postal Service to electric vehicles. The General Services Administration, the agency supporting the activities of the federal government, will receive $1 billion over the next 10 years to convert its facilities into “high-performance green buildings.”

Biden won’t take sides as he tries to reach a spending deal

Unions are also up for rewards in the bill. An eyebrow-raising provision would give taxpayers a deduction of up to $250 for dues paid to a labor organization likely to promote and maintain union membership across the country. Democrats also slipped in a provision that would pay up to $5 million to implement an electronic voting system for union elections.

Race- and gender-based spending in the bill carries a small price tag, but is more likely to elicit pushback from moderate Democrats and Republicans. The bill would give $25 million to nonprofit organizations to develop “anti-discrimination and prejudice training” for the health care sector, and another $15 million to national resource centers “focused on providing services for older persons who are disqualified because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” It is not clear where the centers will be located or how many people they will serve.

Finally, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are pledging another $2.8 billion to increase the ability of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to efficiently decide on applications and reduce case-processing backlogs. Those applications are expected to be made by the second part of the bill, which would grant lawful permanent residency to certain entrants in the United States.

hidden objects

While Democrats have introduced key parts of the law, they have neglected to mention some spending items during their sales pitches. Instead, House Democrats quietly added provisions during the ongoing reconciliation process, sometimes in particularly complicated ways.

For example, take the $198 million funding for “school leadership programs,” a provision contained in Section 20,008 of the bill. Instead of describing those programs, the law referred to another bill, stipulating that the money would be devoted to development and training programs to school principals.

Drafting a bill in this way usually makes it difficult for people to understand where the money is really going.

Next Step

The bill cleared a procedural hurdle last Saturday, when the Senate Budget Committee passed it by a vote of 20-17. The package is expected to reach the house floor this week.

Still, plans are in flux. Republicans have strongly opposed the bill and moderate Democrats continue to express reluctance to approve trillions of dollars in new spending at the same time as a landmark physical infrastructure bill recently passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. Is.

Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have been the most vocal in their opposition, and even they are having separate conversations. munchkin told Politico On Thursday, “What’s needed? There’s no timeline. I want to figure it out,” while cinema representatives told the same outlet, “Kirsten recognized that there’s a timeline, there has to be a process,” but said she’d consult. Explained the key provisions and cost of the bill to the collaborators.

Republicans have been less forgiving. Rep. Glen Grothman, R-Wis., Told CQ On Saturday that “I could cry seeing this thing… it’s so different from what our ancestors imagined when they founded this country.” Meanwhile, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. told Granthshala News. “America’s Newsroom” On Monday morning he did not want the infrastructure bill to be added “for reconciliation in any way, shape or form”.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucy Granthshala News found out on Sunday While the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were optimistic about the ongoing talks, President Biden is “making it clear that [there is] Some flexibility on the total number,” and added, “there are still policy divides that have not been resolved.”

The bill was originally expected to cost $3.5 trillion, but the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote in july that the actual cost was about $5.5 trillion, and The New York Times informed of Monday morning that the current bill is “likely to cost more than $3.5 trillion.”

It may take some time to ascertain the actual cost. The bill, formally known as the Build Back Better Act, is 2,465 pages and 444,311 words. It is longer than Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”.


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