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RECONCILIATION DEAL

US Democrats Manchin and Schumer break the deadlock on tax, energy and healthcare

US Democrats Manchin and Schumer break the deadlock on tax, energy and healthcare
Senator Joe Manchin (left) talks to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer before the ceremony where US President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on 15 March 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said on Wednesday he has reached a deal with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on a bill that would reduce the national debt, invest in energy technologies and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

The move by Manchin, who has often been a roadblock to President Joe Biden’s policy goals, expands on his earlier statement that he could support a bill that addressed prescription drug costs, but would need more time to see if he could back one that included taxation and climate provisions, citing concerns about inflation.

The new agreement also includes measures that would adjust the nation’s tax structure and lower the cost of health insurance.

“I have worked diligently to get input from all sides on the legislation my Democratic colleagues have proposed and listened to the views of my Republican friends to find a path forward that removes inflationary policies so that Congress can respond to Americans’ suffering from high prices,” Manchin said.

The passage of the bill would be important for Biden’s legislative agenda, even if it is a significantly pared down version of the sweeping changes the president sought early in his term.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and Makini Brice; Writing by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot.)

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