Senate Democrats head toward pivotal vote with climate agenda intact

Some budget experts had suspected that: certain conditions for the tax credits for electric drivingincluding restrictions on where car battery materials should come from, went against the budget rules guiding the process Democrats use to pass their bill by a simple majority and dodge a filibuster.

Under the current proposal, a car will only qualify for full credit if the batteries are made with materials sourced from the US or countries that have trade agreements with the US – 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 that Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) is likely to please, who wanted the restrictions to curb reliance on China’s electric car industry.

“The Finance Committee’s clean energy tax package adheres to Senate rules and key provisions to ensure our clean energy future is built in America have been approved by the MP,” Wyden said in a statement. “I am especially pleased that our applicable wage regulations have been approved. These provisions guarantee wages for clean energy projects. Clean energy jobs will be high paying jobs.”

Saturday’s procedural hurdle, once cleared by Democrats, will lead to 20 hours of debate, split equally by both Democrats and Republicans. But neither side is expected to use their full time.

Rather, senators are likely eager to get started on a marathon change process known as vote-a-rama, in which the GOP will rally a series of politically tricky votes for Democrats in hopes of changing the party line package more than a year in the making. The Senate must pass the amendment marathon before Democrats can finally pass it.

Democrats are waiting to see if they can include provisions that allow Medicare to negotiate the price of certain expensive drugs and if they can punish drug companies for raising the prices of individuals with private health insurance more quickly than inflation.

Republicans have argued that the savings made by the mandate, particularly in relation to the private insurance market, could be seen as a budget side effect of the policy rather than its primary purpose, which would violate Senate fiscal rules.

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