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    Inflation Plagues Democrats in Polling. Will It Crush Them at the Ballot Box?

    Americans are extremely attuned to the cost of living, and as midterm election voters head to the polls, they are divided over whom to blame.Inflation has roared back onto the scene as a key issue ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, after five decades during which slow and steady price increases were a political nonissue.It was once a potent driver of politics in America, one that panicked former President Richard M. Nixon and his administration, and later helped to make Jimmy Carter a one-term president. As prices surge, inflation is again taking center stage, and could help decide who controls Congress.Household confidence has plummeted as inflation has climbed, and economic issues have shot to the top of what voters are worried about. A full 49 percent of voters overall said that the economy is an extremely important issue to them in an October Gallup survey, notably outranking abortion, crime and relations with Russia. That’s the highest level of economic concern headed into a midterm election since 2010, when the economy was coming out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression.Inflation is almost certainly the issue pushing the economy to its current prominence. Consumer prices picked up by 8.2 percent in the year through September, far faster than the roughly 2 percent annual gains that were normal in the years leading up to the pandemic. That has left many families feeling like they are falling behind, even as unemployment lingers near a 50-year low, employers hire at a solid clip and job openings abound.The disconnect between the strength of the economy and the way that voters feel about it illustrates why Democrats are barreling into the midterms on the defensive. Elected politicians have a limited role to play in fighting inflation, a job that falls mostly to the Federal Reserve. That has made talking about price increases all the more challenging.Survey data suggest that while voters disagree over whom to blame for today’s rapid price increases, a larger share of independent voters believe that Republicans would be better for the economy and their finances. And irritation over the state of the economy could be enough to prompt some people to vote for change even if the other party doesn’t offer clearly better solutions, according to political scientists. The question is less whether inflation will be a factor driving votes — and more whether it will be a decisive one.“It matters enormously to the election this week,” said Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow in the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution, noting that gas and grocery prices are omnipresent realities for most families. “It is obvious what is happening in inflation every single day: Voters don’t get to forget it.”Across the political spectrum, many Americans are feeling less positive about their personal finances: An AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from October found that 36 percent of Democrats now say their finances are in bad shape, up from 28 percent in March. Among Republicans, that number was 53 percent, up from 41 percent. Independents were fairly unchanged, with 53 percent feeling negative.That could be particularly bad for Democrats, because they are often seen as less strong on the economy.Which Party Is Better for the National Economy?Independents and Republicans both tend to rank Republicans ahead of Democrats economically, based on University of Michigan data.

    Note: Survey from September and October 2022.Source: University of MichiganBy The New York TimesNew survey data from the University of Michigan showed that 41 percent of voters felt neither party had an advantage when it came to helping their personal finances. But of those who did think there was a difference, 35 percent thought Republicans would be better — versus 20 percent for Democrats. Consumers also expected Republicans to win in national races.“By and large, respondents expect Republicans to gain control of both the House and the Senate,” Joanne Hsu, director of the University of Michigan’s consumer surveys, wrote in the Nov. 4 release.Which Party Is Better for Your Personal Finances? Republicans and Independents tend to rank Republicans higher on issues of personal finance, though many see no difference.

    Note: Survey from September and October 2022.Source: University of MichiganBy The New York TimesWhether they are right could hinge on whether inflation proves as salient for actual votes as it is in sentiment surveys.Prices may be rising quickly — annoying consumers and occupying their attention — but unemployment is very low, which Ms. Kamarck said might alleviate the angst. Plus, she said, critical groups of voters — most notably women — may focus on other issues including a Supreme Court ruling from earlier this year that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to abortion.Hally Simpson Wilk, 36, from Broadview Heights, Ohio, is feeling inflation at the grocery store, but she does not think that Republicans would necessarily be better at solving the problem than Democrats. Plus, she said, the abortion ruling had “lit a fire under” her. She expects to vote Democrat.It is hard to guess whether unhappiness over rising prices will drive actual votes in part because there isn’t much recent precedent. While inflation has a history of driving politics in America, it hasn’t been a major issue in 50 years.Back in the 1970s and 1980s, inflation was even faster, touching peaks as high as 12 and 14 percent. Those price increases, and the nation’s response to them, played a big role in driving the national conversation and deciding elections during that era. Mr. Nixon in 1971 instituted wage and price caps to try to temporarily keep prices under control ahead of the 1972 election, for instance.“Inflation robs every American, every one of you,” Mr. Nixon said during his surprise announcement, which included other major economic policy changes. “Homemakers find it harder than ever to balance the family budget. And 80 million American wage earners have been on a treadmill.”.css-1v2n82w{max-width:600px;width:calc(100% – 40px);margin-top:20px;margin-bottom:25px;height:auto;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;font-family:nyt-franklin;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1v2n82w{margin-left:20px;margin-right:20px;}}@media only screen and (min-width:1024px){.css-1v2n82w{width:600px;}}.css-161d8zr{width:40px;margin-bottom:18px;text-align:left;margin-left:0;color:var(–color-content-primary,#121212);border:1px solid var(–color-content-primary,#121212);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-161d8zr{width:30px;margin-bottom:15px;}}.css-tjtq43{line-height:25px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-tjtq43{line-height:24px;}}.css-x1k33h{font-family:nyt-cheltenham;font-size:19px;font-weight:700;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve{font-size:17px;font-weight:300;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve em{font-style:italic;}.css-1hvpcve strong{font-weight:bold;}.css-1hvpcve a{font-weight:500;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}.css-1c013uz{margin-top:18px;margin-bottom:22px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz{font-size:14px;margin-top:15px;margin-bottom:20px;}}.css-1c013uz a{color:var(–color-signal-editorial,#326891);-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;font-weight:500;font-size:16px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz a{font-size:13px;}}.css-1c013uz a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Our needle is back. The needle is an innovative forecasting tool that was created by The Times and debuted in 2016. It is intended to help you understand what the votes tallied so far suggest about possible winners in key contests, before the election is called. Look for one needle on which party will control the House and one on which party will control the Senate.Here’s a deeper dive into how it works.Those wage and price caps may have been politically astute, but research since has showed they just delayed price jumps — they didn’t stop them. When Mr. Carter became president in 1977, inflation was still raging. The Fed wrestled it under control with super-high interest rates that sent unemployment soaring, a campaign that is widely credited with helping to cost Mr. Carter a second term.America’s experience during the 1970s also illustrates a harsh reality: Even if inflation drives the nation’s politics, there is relatively little politicians can do to address it, aside from trying to avoid making the problem worse by stimulating the economy. Taxing and spending policies to offset price increases mostly have comparatively small effects.The country’s main tool for fighting rapid price increases is Fed policy — and that is a painful solution. When the central bank lifts interest rates, it slows economic demand, cools hiring, moderates wage growth and eventually drags prices lower as shoppers pull back and companies find that they can no longer charge more.“There is not an easy fix for inflation — the fix is a recession,” Ms. Kamarck said. For Democrats, “it is very hard to have an economic message.”Economists typically attribute today’s rapid price increases partially to government spending, including a package that Democrats passed in 2021 that helped to fuel consumer demand. But they are also global in nature, tied partly to lingering supply issues amid the pandemic, and food and fuel market disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.Many voters believe that today’s price increases are not wholly — even principally — the Democratic administration’s fault. But that assessment divides along party lines.About 87 percent of Democrats attribute inflation to factors outside of President Biden’s control, versus 48 percent of independents and 21 percent of Republicans, based on AP-NORC polling data from last month.What Is to Blame for Rapid Inflation?A poll asked voters what was to blame for higher-than usual prices: President Biden’s policies, or factors outside of his control.

    Note: Survey from October 6-10, 2022Source: AP-NORCBy The New York Times People who were already on the fence could have their minds swayed by inflation — especially in places where it is particularly painful. Price increases are reported at a metro level, and some cities in key battleground states are facing particularly rapid price increases: Inflation was at 11.7 percent in Atlanta; 13 percent in Phoenix; and 9 percent in the Seattle metro area as of the latest available data.And even if inflation is hovering near the national average in some places, it is still the fastest pace in decades.Pennsylvania’s Senate race is closely contested, and Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, Pa., thinks that rapid price increases could be one factor that is helping the Republican candidate Mehmet Oz run a competitive race despite very low favorability ratings.“We often see in midterm races that if people aren’t happy, a price is paid by the incumbent party,” Mr. Borick said. Inflation “places people in a mood that really does open up the door to alternatives that might not otherwise be acceptable.” More

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    Republicans Denounce Inflation, but Few Economists Expect Their Plans to Help

    Proposed tax and spending cuts by the G.O.P., which is making a push to take back Congress, are unlikely to bring down rapidly rising prices any time soon.WASHINGTON — Republicans are riding a wave of anger over inflation as they seek to recapture the House and the Senate this fall, hammering Democrats on President Biden’s economic policies, which they say have fueled the fastest price gains in 40 years.Republican candidates have centered their economic agenda on promises to help Americans cope with everyday price increases and to increase growth. They have pledged to reduce government spending and to make permanent parts of the 2017 Republican tax cuts that are set to expire over the next three years — including incentives for corporate investment and tax reductions for individuals.And they have vowed to repeal the corporate tax increases that Mr. Biden signed into law in August while gutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which was given more money to help the United States go after high-earning and corporate tax cheats.“The very fact that Republicans are poised to take back majorities in both chambers is an indictment of the policies of this administration,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, noting that “if you look at the spending that they did on a partisan basis, we certainly would be able to stop that.”But while Republicans insist they will be better stewards of the economy, few economists on either end of the ideological spectrum expect the party’s proposals to meaningfully reduce inflation in the short term. Instead, many say some of what Republicans are proposing — including tax cuts for high earners and businesses — could actually make price pressures worse by pumping more money into the economy.“It is unlikely that any of the policies proposed by Republicans would meaningfully reduce inflation in 2023, when rapidly rising prices will still be a major problem for the economy and for consumers,” said Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.As they position themselves for the midterm elections, Republicans have also indicated that they might try to hold the nation’s borrowing limit hostage to achieve spending cuts. The debt ceiling, which caps how much the federal government can borrow, has increasingly become a fraught arena for political brinkmanship.The State of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsBoth parties are making their final pitches ahead of the Nov. 8 election.Florida Governor’s Debate: Gov. Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist, his Democratic challenger,  had a rowdy exchange on Oct. 24. Here are the main takeaways from their debate.Strategy Change: In the final stretch before the elections, some Democrats are pushing for a new message that acknowledges the economic uncertainty troubling the electorate.Last Dance?: As she races to raise money to hand on to her embattled House majority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in no mood to contemplate a Democratic defeat, much less her legacy.Secretary of State Races: Facing G.O.P. candidates who spread lies about the 2020 election, Democrats are outspending them 57-to-1 on TV ads for their secretary of state candidates. It still may not be enough.Multiple top Republicans have signaled that unless Mr. Biden agrees to reduce future government spending, they will refuse to lift the borrowing cap. That would effectively bar the federal government from issuing new bonds to finance its deficit spending, potentially jeopardizing on-time payments for military salaries and safety-net benefits, and roiling bond markets.Mr. Biden has tried to push back against the Republicans and cast the election not as a referendum on his economic policies, but as a choice between Democratic policies to reduce costs on health care and electricity and Republican efforts to repeal those policies. He has accused Republicans of stoking further price increases with tax cuts that could add to the federal budget deficit, and of risking financial calamity by refusing to raise the debt limit.“We, the Democrats, are the ones that are fiscally responsible. Let’s get that straight now, OK?” Mr. Biden said during remarks on Monday to workers at the Democratic National Committee. “We’re investing in all of America, reducing everyday costs while also lowering the deficit at the same time. Republicans are fiscally reckless, pushing tax cuts for the very wealthy that aren’t paid for, and exploiting the deficit that is making inflation worse.”The challenge for Mr. Biden is that voters do not seem to be demanding details from Republicans and are instead putting their trust in them to turn around an economy that voters believe is headed in the wrong direction. Polls suggest Americans trust Republicans by a wide margin to handle inflation and other economic issues.In a nationwide deluge of campaign ads and in public remarks, Republicans have pinned much of their inflation-fighting agenda on halting a stimulus spending spree that began under President Donald J. Trump and continued under Mr. Biden, in an effort to help people and businesses survive the pandemic recession. Those efforts have largely ended, and Mr. Biden has shown no desire to pass further stimulus legislation at a time of rapid price growth.Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, said in a statement that “the first step in combating inflation is to stop the historically reckless spending spree occurring under one-party Democrat rule in Washington, and that will only happen with a Republican majority in Congress.”.css-1v2n82w{max-width:600px;width:calc(100% – 40px);margin-top:20px;margin-bottom:25px;height:auto;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;font-family:nyt-franklin;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1v2n82w{margin-left:20px;margin-right:20px;}}@media only screen and (min-width:1024px){.css-1v2n82w{width:600px;}}.css-161d8zr{width:40px;margin-bottom:18px;text-align:left;margin-left:0;color:var(–color-content-primary,#121212);border:1px solid var(–color-content-primary,#121212);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-161d8zr{width:30px;margin-bottom:15px;}}.css-tjtq43{line-height:25px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-tjtq43{line-height:24px;}}.css-x1k33h{font-family:nyt-cheltenham;font-size:19px;font-weight:700;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve{font-size:17px;font-weight:300;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve em{font-style:italic;}.css-1hvpcve strong{font-weight:bold;}.css-1hvpcve a{font-weight:500;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}.css-1c013uz{margin-top:18px;margin-bottom:22px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz{font-size:14px;margin-top:15px;margin-bottom:20px;}}.css-1c013uz a{color:var(–color-signal-editorial,#326891);-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;font-weight:500;font-size:16px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz a{font-size:13px;}}.css-1c013uz a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.Learn more about our process.“Republicans,” he added, “will fight to bring down the cost of living and impose fiscal restraint in Washington, and that begins by ensuring Democrats are not able to impose round after round of new inflationary spending.”Economists largely agree that the Federal Reserve is most responsible for fighting inflation, which policymakers are trying to do with rapid interest rates increases. But they say Congress could plausibly help the Fed by reducing budget deficits, in order to slow the amount of consumer spending power in the economy.One way to do that would be to significantly and quickly reduce federal spending. Such a move could result in widespread government layoffs and reduced support for low-income individuals — who would be less able to afford increasingly expensive food and other staples — and could prompt a recession. “The amount of cuts you’d have to do to move the needle on inflation are completely off the table,” said Jon Lieber, a former aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky who is now the Eurasia Group’s managing director for the United States.Still, Mr. Lieber said that likelihood would not sully the Republican pitch to voters this fall. “Midterm votes are a referendum on the party in power,” he said, “and the party in power has responsibility for inflation.”“The very fact that Republicans are poised to take back majorities in both chambers is an indictment of the policies of this administration,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican.Haiyun Jiang/The New York TimesBiden administration officials contend that the Republican plans, rather than curbing inflation, could worsen America’s fiscal situation.Administration economists estimate that two policies favored by Republicans — repealing a new minimum tax on large corporations included in the Inflation Reduction Act and extending some business tax cuts from Mr. Trump’s 2017 legislation — could collectively increase the federal budget deficit by about $90 billion next year.Such an increase could cause the Federal Reserve to raise rates even faster than it already is, further choking economic growth. Or, alternatively, it could add a small amount to the annual inflation rate — perhaps as much as 0.2 percentage points. Fully repealing the Inflation Reduction Act would also mean raising future costs for prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare, including for insulin, and potentially raising future electricity costs.“Their plan to repeal the I.R.A. and double down on the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy will worsen inflation,” said Jared Bernstein, a member of Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers. “On top of that, they’re also explicit that they’re coming for Social Security and Medicare, making this a terribly destructive agenda that starts by fighting the Fed and moves on to devastating vulnerable seniors.”Conservative economists say the inflation impact of extending Mr. Trump’s tax cuts could be much smaller, because those extensions could lead businesses to invest more, people to work more and growth to increase across the economy. They also say Republicans could help relieve price pressures, particularly for electricity and gasoline, by following through on their proposals to reduce federal regulations governing new energy development.“Those things are going to be positive for investment, job creation and capacity” in the economy, said Donald Schneider, a former chief economist for Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee and the deputy head of U.S. policy at Piper Sandler.A budget proposal unveiled this year by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative policy group within the House Republican conference, included plans to permanently extend the Trump tax cuts and to impose work requirements on federal benefits programs, in hopes of reducing federal spending on the programs and increasing the number of workers in the economy.“We know for a fact that federal spending continues to keep inflation high, which is why a top priority in next year’s Republican majority will be to root out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money,” Representative Kevin Hern, Republican of Oklahoma, said in a statement. Mr. Hern, who helped devise the budget, called it “one of many proposals to address the dire situation we’re in.”As they eye the majority, top Republicans have suggested that they will consider an economically risky strategy to potentially force Mr. Biden to agree to spending cuts, including for safety-net programs. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who is the minority leader and is seen as the clear pick to be speaker should Republicans win control of the House, suggested to Punchbowl News this month that he would be open to withholding Republican votes to raise the federal borrowing limit unless Mr. Biden and Democrats agreed to policy changes that curb spending.How to use that leverage has divided Republicans. Some, like Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who fended off a Trump-backed primary challenger, are supportive of that option.But other Republicans — particularly candidates laboring to present a more centrist platform in swing districts held by Democrats — have shied away from openly supporting cuts to safety-net programs.“Absolutely not,” Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican and former mayor running in Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District, said when asked if she would support cuts to Medicare and Social Security as a way to rein in federal spending. “Cutting those programs is not where I, as a Republican, see myself. I want to make sure that we can fill those coffers.” More

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    Howard Rosenthal, Who Quantified Partisanship in Congress, Dies at 83

    He took part in studies that found the widening ideological divide to be the largest since post-Civil War Reconstruction.Prof. Howard Rosenthal, a political scientist whose pioneering research confirmed quantitatively that Congress is more politically polarized than at any point since Reconstruction, died on July 28 at his home in San Francisco. He was 83.His son Prof. Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, said the cause was heart failure.There was good news from the algorithm that Professor Rosenthal and his colleagues developed to analyze congressional roll-call votes: The ideological gap between the left and right had grown so great that, mathematically at least, it could not get much worse.“Professor Rosenthal was a trailblazing figure in political science, who collaborated with economists and drew on game theory and other formal methods to help define the modern subfield of political economy,” said Prof. Alan Patten, chairman of the politics department at Princeton, where Professor Rosenthal taught between stints at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and New York University.“With his co-authors,” Professor Patten said, “he was especially known for work measuring and analyzing political polarization, a phenomenon that is of more relevance than ever in contemporary American politics.”With his fellow professors Keith T. Poole of the University of Georgia and Nolan McCarty of Princeton, Professor Rosenthal systematically calculated the conservatism or liberalism of members of Congress.In 2002, they concluded that a representative’s votes can generally be predicted on the basis of his or her previous positions on issues regarding race and on government intervention in the economy, like tax rates and benefits for the poor.Their analysis showed that a legislator’s party affiliation was a much better augur of voting behavior than it had been 25 years earlier.Moreover, they concluded, from 1955 to 2004 the proportion of unalloyed centrists in the House of Representatives had declined to 8 percent from 33 percent, and the number of centrist senators had dropped to nine from 39.In 2013, with Professors Poole and McCarty and Prof. Adam Bonica of Stanford, Professor Rosenthal investigated why the nation’s political system had failed to come to grips with growing income inequality.Among other conclusions, they found a correlation between the changes in the share of income going to the top 1 percent and the level of polarization between the political parties in the House.The researchers also documented an increase in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates from millionaires listed in the Forbes 400 — as that list included more technology innovators than oil and manufacturing magnates — and a tack in the party’s platform from general social welfare policies to an agenda focused on identities of ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation.In 2014, Professors Rosenthal and Poole and their collaborators wrote in The Washington Post that “Congress is now more polarized than at any time since the end of Reconstruction” in the 19th centurySamuel L. Popkin, a professor emeritus of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who befriended Professor Rosenthal when they were classmates there, said in an email that he was “the instigator or spark for most of the advances” in studying legislatures and voting. He credited Professor Rosenthal with developing new statistical measurements for analyzing data.Howard Lewis Rosenthal was born on March 4, 1939, in Pittsburgh to Arnold Rosenthal, a businessman, and Elinor (Lewis) Rosenthal, a homemaker.He received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics, politics and science in 1960 and a doctorate in political science in 1964, both from M.I.T. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon from 1971 to 1993 and at Princeton from 1993 to 2005, and had been at N.Y.U. since 2005.His marriage to Annie Lunel ended in divorce. His second wife, Margherita (Spanpinato) Rosenthal, died before him. In addition to his son Jean-Laurent, from his first marriage, he is survived by a daughter from that marriage, Illia Rosenthal; a son, Gil, from his second marriage; a sister, Susan Thorpe; and four granddaughters.Predicting votes by members of Congress on the basis of statistical models built on previous votes was initially considered controversial. But one byproduct of those predictions, applied to election voters, went a long way toward establishing the model’s credibility.“Challenged by a detractor to predict the 1994 midterm elections,” John B. Londregan, a political scientist at Princeton and a partner in one project, said in a statement, “we predicted a Republican majority in the U.S. House for the first time in almost 40 years, something that met with incredulity on the part of many colleagues.” They were, of course, right.Professor Rosenthal was awarded the Duncan Black Prize from the Public Choice Society in 1980, the C.Q. Press Award from the American Political Science Association in 1985 and the William H. Riker Prize for Political Science from the University of Rochester in 2010.In 1997, he and Professor Poole published “Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting.” With Professor McCarty, they wrote “Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches” (2006).In 2007, after analyzing 2.8 million roll-call votes in the Senate and 11.5 million in the House, Professors Rosenthal and Poole produced an updated version of their 1997 book, which had predicted “a polarized unidimensional Congress with roll-call voting falling almost exclusively along liberal-conservative ideological lines.”“We were right,” the authors concluded. “This makes us feel good as scientists, but lousy as citizens.” More

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    Democrats Propose Raising Taxes on Some High Earners to Bolster Medicare

    The draft plan, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming days, is part of talks over how to salvage pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda.WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats will push to raise taxes on some high-earning Americans and steer the money to improving the solvency of Medicare, according to officials briefed on the plan, as they cobble together a modest version of President Biden’s stalled tax and spending package.The proposal is projected to raise $203 billion over a decade by imposing an additional 3.8 percent tax on income earned from owning a piece of what is known as a pass-through business, such as a law firm or medical practice. The money that would be generated by the change is estimated to be enough to extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund that pays for hospital care — currently set to begin running out of money in 2028 — until 2031.It is the most recent agreement to emerge from private negotiations between Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a conservative-leaning Democrat who has demanded that his party rein in its sweeping ambitions for a domestic policy plan. In December, Mr. Manchin torpedoed efforts to pass Mr. Biden’s $2.2 trillion social safety net, climate and tax package because of concerns over its cost and impact on the economy at a time of rising inflation.His backing is critical because, with Republicans expected to be uniformly opposed, the only way Democrats can pass the package through the evenly divided Senate is to win unanimous backing from their caucus and do so under special budget rules that would shield it from a filibuster and allow it to pass on a simple majority vote.Mr. Schumer has worked to salvage key components of the plan that could meet that test, including a plan released on Wednesday to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Mr. Manchin has repeatedly said such legislation should focus on tax reform and drug pricing, as well as efforts to lower the national debt. The bill is also expected to include some climate and energy provisions, a key priority for Democrats, although they have yet to be agreed upon.Democratic leaders, who hope to move the legislation through the Senate this month, are expected to formally release the Medicare plan in the coming days, according to the officials, who disclosed preliminary details on the condition of anonymity.The fast-track budget process that the party plans to use for the overall package, known as reconciliation, requires legislation to abide by strict budgetary rules enforced by the Senate parliamentarian. The prescription drug legislation has been submitted to the parliamentarian, and Democrats plan to submit the tax increase and Medicare piece in coming days.The portion of Medicare that pays for hospital bills is funded through a special trust fund, largely financed by payroll taxes. But with escalating health care costs and an aging population, current revenues won’t be enough to pay all of Medicare’s hospital bills forever. According to the most recent report from Medicare’s trustees, the fund will be depleted in 2028 without new revenues or spending cuts.The Democrats’ plan would extend an existing 3.8 percent net investment income tax to so-called pass-through income, earned from businesses that distribute profits to their owners. Many people who work at such firms — such as law partners and hedge fund managers — earn high incomes, but avoid the 3.8 percent tax on the bulk of it.The new proposal would apply only to people earning more than $400,000 a year, and joint filers, trusts and estates bringing in more than $500,000, in accordance with Mr. Biden’s pledge that he would not raise taxes for people who make less than $400,000 a year. The proposal is similar to a tax increase Mr. Biden proposed in 2021 to help offset the cost of a set of new spending programs meant to help workers and families, like home health care and child care.Senator Joe Manchin III has said Democrats should focus on tax reform, prescription drug costs and efforts to lower the national debt.Tom Brenner for The New York TimesImposing the new tax on pass-through income would raise about $202.6 billion over a decade, according to an estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation provided to Senate Democrats and reviewed by The New York Times. Those funds would be funneled directly into the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which covers inpatient hospital care, some home health care and hospice care.The Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services informed Democratic staff that the additional revenue generated would extend the hospital trust fund’s solvency from 2028 to 2031.“Medicare is a lifeline for millions of American seniors and Senator Manchin has always supported pathways to ensure it remains solvent,” said Sam Runyon, a spokeswoman for Mr. Manchin. “He remains optimistic there is a path to do just that.”She cautioned that an overall deal on a broader climate, tax and spending package has yet to be struck. Some Democrats also hope to include an extension of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies, which passed on a party-line vote in the $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package in 2021.“Senator Manchin still has serious unresolved concerns, and there is a lot of work to be done before it’s conceivable that a deal can be reached he can sign onto,” Ms. Runyon said.While Mr. Manchin has said he would support additional tax increases, any changes to the tax code must also win the support of Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a centrist who opposed many of her party’s initial tax proposals.And while many Democrats are anxious to address climate change before the midterm elections, which may change the balance of power in Washington, Mr. Manchin, who has been protective of his state’s coal industry, continues to haggle over that issue.The heart of the climate plan is expected to be approximately $300 billion in tax credits to expand the development of clean energy like wind, solar and battery storage, a significantly smaller plan that reflects concessions to Mr. Manchin, according to several people familiar with the negotiations.Negotiators are also considering tax credits to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles, though it is unclear whether Mr. Manchin will support such a provision.Lisa Friedman More

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    Senate Confirms Philip Jefferson as a Fed Governor

    Philip N. Jefferson, a college administrator and academic economist, was confirmed to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors on Wednesday.Senators approved him for the job in an overwhelming bipartisan 91-7 vote. He is the third of President Biden’s nominees to secure a spot on the Fed’s seven-person board: Lisa D. Cook was confirmed as a governor on Tuesday, and Lael Brainard was confirmed as vice chair last month.Mr. Jefferson, who was most recently vice president for academic affairs at Davidson College, was born in Washington, D.C., and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia. He has been an economist at the Fed board, and has written about poverty and monetary policy’s effect on the labor market, among other topics.The White House has also renominated Jerome H. Powell as Fed chair, though Mr. Powell is still awaiting a final confirmation vote. Senators said that vote was expected as soon as Thursday.The administration’s nominee for the final open Fed job — the vice chair for supervision — has yet to have a committee hearing and vote. Mr. Biden’s initial nominee for the position, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew from consideration after it became clear that she would not pass the Senate. Michael S. Barr was put up for the job more recently.If those picks are confirmed, Mr. Biden will have nominated or renominated five of the Fed’s seven governors. The Fed is independent of politics, so those appointments are the main way that the White House can shape the future of monetary policy, which is used to keep inflation stable and employment high.Governors at the Fed’s board in Washington hold constant votes on monetary policy and oversee the nation’s largest banks. They set interest rates to guide the economy alongside 12 regional reserve bank presidents, five of whom hold a vote on monetary policy at any given time.Mr. Jefferson and Ms. Cook are likely to support the Fed’s current project: reining in rapid inflation. Consumer prices climbed 8.3 percent in the year through April, data released Wednesday showed, an uncomfortably rapid pace of increase. Fed officials are raising rates at the fastest pace in decades as they try to tamp down price pressures and bring the situation under control.“The spike in inflation we are seeing today threatens to heighten expectations of future inflation,” Mr. Jefferson said during his confirmation hearing. “The Federal Reserve must remain attentive to this risk and ensure that inflation declines to levels consistent with its goals.” More

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    Senate Republicans Stall Crucial Vote on Fed Nominees

    President Biden’s plans to reshape the Federal Reserve suffered a setback on Tuesday as Republicans delayed a key vote on his five nominees for its Board of Governors.Republicans did not show up for a committee decision that would have advanced the nominees to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Because a majority of the Senate Banking Committee’s members need to be physically present for such votes to count, their blockade effectively halted the process.The unusual maneuver, spearheaded by Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, was driven by Republican opposition to Mr. Biden’s pick for the nation’s top bank cop, Sarah Bloom Raskin.The president has renominated Jerome H. Powell as Fed chair and has tapped Lael Brainard, a current Fed governor, as vice chair. He has also nominated the economists Lisa D. Cook and Philip N. Jefferson as Fed governors. But Ms. Raskin — a longtime Washington policymaker and lawyer whom Mr. Biden has picked as vice chair for bank supervision — has garnered the most pushback.To prevent her nomination from advancing to the full Senate, Republicans held up the vote on all five nominees.Democrats and the White House criticized Republicans for engineering a boycott and scrambled for a solution that could get the nominees to a confirmation vote. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio and chair of the Banking Committee, on Tuesday shot down the idea that he would separate Ms. Raskin from the other nominees to allow the rest to advance. Ms. Raskin could face tough odds of passing, especially on her own.By nominating five of the Fed’s seven governors and all of its highest-ranking leaders, Mr. Biden had a chance to shake up the institution. While some of his picks — like Mr. Powell — represented continuity, together they would have made up the most racially and gender-diverse Fed leadership team ever.Sarah Binder, a professor of political science at George Washington University who co-wrote a book on the politics of the Fed, said Democrats would need to come up with a strategy to overcome the Republican block or the nominees could get stuck in limbo.“It is really a delay — it might yet scupper Raskin,” she said. She noted that Democrats could break the nominations up or try to garner enough support among the full Senate to override the rules and get the nominees past the committee, though that might be a challenge.“It’s pretty uncharted, and they’re going to have to find a way,” Dr. Binder said.Molly Reynolds, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said that outside of trying to change Senate rules — which she called the “nuclear option” — Democrats’ clearest avenue was probably to negotiate with Republicans.“They just need a Republican to show up,” she noted, explaining that the senator would not even need to vote yes for the committee to secure a majority and move the candidates along.Tuesday’s maneuver was the latest step in Mr. Toomey’s opposition campaign against Ms. Raskin, who would serve as arguably the nation’s most important bank regulator if confirmed.Mr. Toomey has criticized Ms. Raskin for past comments on climate-related regulation, worrying that she would be too activist in bank oversight. More recently, he has pressed for more information about her interactions with the Fed while she was on the board of a financial technology company that was pushing for a potentially lucrative central bank account.“Until basic questions have been adequately addressed, I do not think the committee should proceed with a vote on Ms. Raskin,” Mr. Toomey said in the statement.White House officials criticized his move as inappropriate when the Fed is wrestling with rapidly rising prices and preparing to raise interest rates next month.“It’s totally irresponsible, in our view — it’s never been more important to have confirmed leadership at the Fed,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. She added that the administration’s focus now was moving the nominees through the committee and called Mr. Toomey’s probing of Ms. Raskin’s background “false allegations.”The dispute centers on the revolving door between government regulators and the arcane world of financial technology.Mr. Toomey and his colleagues have said Ms. Raskin, a former Fed and Treasury official, had contacted the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on behalf of Reserve Trust, a financial technology company. Reserve Trust secured a strategically important account at the Fed while she was on its board: To this day, it advertises that it is the only company of its kind with what’s known as a “master” account.Master accounts give companies access to the U.S. payment system infrastructure, allowing firms to move money without working with a bank, among other advantages.Republicans are blocking the process over concerns about one of the nominees, Sarah Bloom Raskin.Pool photo by Ken CedenoMs. Raskin said in written responses to Mr. Toomey’s questions early this month that she did “not recall any communications I made to help Reserve Trust obtain a master account.” But Mr. Toomey said in a subsequent letter that the president of the Kansas City Fed, Esther George, had told his staff that Ms. Raskin called her about the account in 2017.The Kansas City Fed has insisted that it followed its normal protocol in granting Reserve Trust’s master account and noted that talking with a firm’s board members was “routine.” But Mr. Toomey has continued to push for more information.“Important questions about Ms. Raskin’s use of the ‘revolving door’ remain unanswered largely because of her repeated disingenuousness with the committee,” Mr. Toomey said in his statement Tuesday.Democrats have emphasized that Ms. Raskin recently committed to a new set of ethics standards, agreeing not to work for financial services companies for four years after she leaves government — a pledge Ms. Cook and Mr. Jefferson also made, at the urging of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts.Ms. Brainard agreed to a weaker version of that commitment that would bar her from working at bank holding companies and depository institutions outside of mission-driven exceptions like banks that target underserved communities, a spokesperson for Ms. Warren’s office said Tuesday.Mr. Powell declined to make a similar commitment, the spokesperson said. The Fed chair did signal that he would adhere to the administration’s ethics rules, which ban paid work related to government service for two years upon leaving office.On Tuesday, a dozen Republican chairs in the room where the committee met remained empty while Democrats occupied their seats across the room. Democrats took a vote to show support, though it was not binding, and Mr. Brown pledged to reschedule.“Few things we do as senators will do more to help address our country’s economic concerns more than to confirm this slate of nominees, the most diverse and most qualified slate of Fed nominees ever put forward,” Mr. Brown said, chiding Republicans for skipping the session.“They’re taking away probably the most important tool we have — and that’s the Federal Reserve — to combat inflation,” he later added.The Fed has four current governors, in addition to its 12 regional presidents, five of whom vote on monetary policy at any given time. Mr. Powell has already been serving as chair on an interim basis, since his leadership term officially expired this month. Even if the nominees advance, Ms. Raskin may struggle to pass the full Senate. Winning confirmation would require her to maintain full support from all 50 lawmakers who caucus with Democrats and for all those lawmakers to be present unless she can win Republican votes. Senator Ben Ray Luján, Democrat of New Mexico, has been absent as he recovers from a stroke.“The Republicans are playing hardball because they can,” said Ian Katz, the managing director at Capital Alpha Partners. “At the least, it delays her confirmation. It could have the ultimate effect of killing it.” More

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    U.S. Effort to Combat Forced Labor Targets Corporate China Ties

    The Biden administration is expected to face scrutiny as it decides how to enforce a new ban on products made with forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China.A far-reaching bill aimed at barring products made with forced labor in China became law after President Biden signed the bill on Thursday.But the next four months — during which the Biden administration will convene hearings to investigate how pervasive forced labor is and what to do about it — will be crucial in determining how far the legislation goes in altering the behavior of companies that source products from China.While it is against U.S. law to knowingly import goods made with slave labor, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act shifts the burden of proof to companies from customs officials. Firms will have to proactively prove that their factories, and those of all their suppliers, do not use slavery or coercion.The law, which passed the House and Senate nearly unanimously, is Washington’s first comprehensive effort to police supply chains that the United States says exploit persecuted minorities, and its impact could be sweeping. A wide range of products and raw materials — such as petroleum, cotton, minerals and sugar — flow from the Xinjiang region of China, where accusations of forced labor proliferate. Those materials are often used in Chinese factories that manufacture products for global companies.“I anticipate that there will be many companies — even entire industries — that will be taken by surprise when they realize that their supply chains can also be traced back to the Uyghur region,” said Laura Murphy, a professor of human rights and contemporary slavery at Sheffield Hallam University in Britain.If the law is enforced as written, it could force many companies to rework how they do business or risk having products blocked at the U.S. border. Those high stakes are expected to set off a crush of lobbying by companies trying to ease the burden on their industries as the government writes the guidelines that importers must follow.“Genuine, effective enforcement will most likely mean there will be pushback by corporations and an attempt to create loopholes,” said Cathy Feingold, the international director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “So the implementation will be key.”Behind-the-scenes negotiations before the bill’s passage provided an early indication of how consequential the legislation could be for some of America’s biggest companies, as business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and brand names like Nike and Coca-Cola worked to limit the bill’s scope.The Biden administration has labeled the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang — including the detention of more than a million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities, as well as forced conversions, sterilization and arbitrary or unlawful killings — as genocide.Human rights experts say that Beijing’s policies of moving Uyghurs into farms and factories that feed the global supply chain are an integral part of its repression in Xinjiang, an attempt to assimilate minorities and strip them of their culture and religion..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-1kpebx{margin:0 auto;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1kpebx{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-1gtxqqv{margin-bottom:0;}.css-1g3vlj0{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1g3vlj0{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-1g3vlj0 strong{font-weight:600;}.css-1g3vlj0 em{font-style:italic;}.css-1g3vlj0{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0.25rem;}.css-19zsuqr{display:block;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}In a statement last week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Biden welcomed the bill’s passage and agreed with Congress “that action can and must be taken to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for genocide and human rights abuses and to address forced labor in Xinjiang.” She added that the administration would “work closely with Congress to implement this bill to ensure global supply chains are free of forced labor.”Yet some members of the administration argued behind closed doors that the bill’s scope could overwhelm U.S. regulators and lead to further supply chain disruptions at a time when inflation is accelerating at a nearly 40-year high, according to interviews with more than two dozen government officials, members of Congress and their staff. Some officials also expressed concerns that an aggressive ban on Chinese imports could put the administration’s goals for fighting climate change at risk, given China’s dominance of solar panels and components to make them, people familiar with the discussions said.John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate change, and Wendy R. Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, separately conveyed some of those concerns in calls to Democratic members of Congress in recent months, according to four people familiar with the discussions.Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and one of the bill’s lead authors, criticized those looking to limit its impact, saying that companies that want to continue to import products and officials who are reluctant to rock the boat with China “are not just going to give up.” He added, “They’re all going to try to weigh in on how it’s implemented.”A solar farm near Wenquan, China. The Xinjiang region’s substantial presence in the solar supply chain has been a key source of tension in the Biden administration.Gilles Sabrié for The New York TimesOne reason the stakes are so high is because of the critical role that Xinjiang may play in many supply chains. The region, twice the size of Texas, is rich in raw materials like coal and oil and crops like tomatoes, lavender and hops; it is also a significant producer of electronics, sneakers and clothing. By some estimates, it provides one-fifth of the world’s cotton and 45 percent of the world’s polysilicon, a key ingredient for solar panels.Xinjiang’s substantial presence in the solar supply chain has been a key source of tension in the Biden administration, which is counting on solar power to help the United States reach its goal of significantly cutting carbon emissions by the end of the decade.In meetings this year, Biden administration officials weighed how difficult it would be for importers to bypass Xinjiang and relocate supply chains for solar goods and other products, according to three government officials. Officials from the Labor Department and the United States Trade Representative were more sympathetic to a far-reaching ban on Xinjiang goods, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Some officials in charge of climate, energy and the economy argued against a sweeping ban, saying it would wreak havoc on supply chains or compromise the fight against climate change, those people said.Ana Hinojosa, who was the executive director of Customs and Border Protection and led the government’s enforcement of forced labor provisions until she left the post in October, said that agencies responsible for “competing priorities” like climate change had voiced concerns about the legislation’s impact. Companies and various government agencies became nervous that the law’s broad authorities could prove “devastating to the U.S. economy,” she said.“The need to improve our clean energy is real and important, but not something that the government or the U.S. should do on the backs of people who are working under conditions of modern-day slavery,” Ms. Hinojosa added.In a call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California this year, Mr. Kerry conveyed concerns about disrupting solar supply chains while Ms. Sherman shared her concerns with Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, according to people familiar with the conversations.Mr. Merkley, one of the lead sponsors of the bill, said in an interview that Ms. Sherman told him she was concerned the legislation was not duly “targeted and deliberative.” The conversation was first reported by The Washington Post.“I think this is a targeted and deliberative approach,” Mr. Merkley said. “And I think the administration is starting to see how strongly Republicans and Democrats in both chambers feel about this.”A State Department official said that Ms. Sherman did not initiate the call and did not express opposition to the bill. Whitney Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kerry, said any accusations he lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act were “false.” Ms. Pelosi declined to discuss private conversations.Nury Turkel, a Uyghur-American lawyer who is the vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said the United States must “tackle both genocide and ecocide.”“Policymakers and climate activists are making it a choice between saving the world and turning a blind eye to the enslavement of Uyghurs,” he said. “It is false, and we cannot allow ourselves to be forced into it.”Administration officials have also argued that the United States can take a strong stance against forced labor while developing a robust solar supply chain. Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said that Mr. Biden “believes what is going on in Xinjiang is genocide” and that the administration had taken a range of actions to combat human rights abuses in the region, including financial sanctions, visa restrictions, export controls, import restrictions and a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February.“We have taken action to hold the P.R.C. accountable for its human rights abuses and to address forced labor in Xinjiang,” Ms. Horne said, using the abbreviation for the People’s Republic of China. “And we will continue to do so.”Farm workers picking cotton near Qapqal, China, in 2015. By some estimates, Xinjiang produces one-fifth of the world’s cotton.Adam Dean for The New York TimesThe law highlights the delicate U.S.-China relationship, in which policymakers must figure out how to confront anti-Democratic practices while the United States is economically dependent on Chinese factories. China remains the largest supplier of goods to the United States.One of the biggest hurdles for U.S. businesses is determining whether their products touched Xinjiang at any point in the supply chain. Many companies complain that beyond their direct suppliers, they lack the leverage to demand information from the Chinese firms that manufacture raw materials and parts.Government restrictions that bar foreigners from unfettered access to sites in Xinjiang have made it difficult for many businesses to investigate their supply chains. New Chinese antisanctions rules, which threaten penalties against companies that comply with U.S. restrictions, have made vetting even more difficult.The Chinese government denies forced labor is used in Xinjiang. Zhao Lijian, a government spokesman, said U.S. politicians were “seeking to contain China and hold back China’s development through political manipulation and economic bullying in the name of ‘human rights.’” He promised a “resolute response” if the bill became law.Lawmakers struggled over the past year to reconcile a more aggressive House version of the legislation with one in the Senate, which gave companies longer timelines to make changes and stripped out the S.E.C. reporting requirement, among other differences.The final bill included a mechanism to create lists of entities and products that use forced labor or aid in the transfer of persecuted workers to factories around China. Businesses like Apple had lobbied for the creation of such lists, believing they would provide more certainty for businesses seeking to avoid entities of concern.Lisa Friedman More

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    The Path Ahead for Biden: Overcome Manchin’s Inflation Fears

    A key Democrat’s decision to pull support from the president’s sprawling climate and social agenda is rooted in the scope of the bill.WASHINGTON — Senator Joe Manchin III, the West Virginia Democrat, effectively killed President Biden’s signature domestic policy bill in its current form on Sunday, saying he was convinced the spending and tax cuts in the $2.2 trillion legislation will exacerbate already hot inflation.Economic evidence strongly suggests Mr. Manchin is wrong. A host of economists and independent analyses have concluded that the bill is not economic stimulus, and that it will not pump enough money into consumer pocketbooks next year to raise prices more than a modest amount.The reason has to do with the pace at which the bill spends money and how much it raises through tax increases that are intended to pay for that spending. The legislation spends funds over a decade, allowing the taxes it raises on wealthy Americans and businesses, which will siphon money out of the economy, to help counteract the boost from spending and tax cuts.The bill also does not provide the type of direct stimulus included in the $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package Mr. Biden signed in March — and which Mr. Manchin supported. Some of its provisions would give money directly to people, like a continued expanded child tax credit, but others would fund programs that would take time to ramp up, like universal prekindergarten.Economists say the net result is likely to be at most a tenth of a percentage point or two increase in the inflation rate. That would be a relatively small effect at a time when supply chain crunches, surging global oil demand and a pandemic shift among consumers away from travel and dining out and toward durable goods have combined to raise the annual inflation rate to 6.8 percent, its fastest pace in nearly 40 years.For months, Mr. Manchin has warned the president and congressional leaders that he was uncomfortable with the breadth of what had become a $2.2 trillion bill to fight climate change, continue monthly checks to parents, establish universal prekindergarten and invest in a wide range of spending and tax cuts targeting child care, affordable housing, home health care and more. He has cited both the risks of inflation and his fear that the package could further balloon the federal budget deficit, saying several programs that are now estimated to end in a few years would likely be made permanent.Over the past week, he has insisted that the bill shrink to fit the framework of less than $2 trillion that Mr. Biden announced this fall, and that — crucially — the legislation not use budget gimmicks to artificially lower the bill’s effect on the budget deficit.In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Manchin said Democrats “continue to camouflage the real cost of the intent behind this bill.”White House officials have tried to promote the idea that the bill would reduce price pressures right away — an outcome economists have not entirely bought into. But the general economic consensus finds little evidence to suggest the bill risks exacerbating rising food, gasoline and other prices.Today’s inflationary surge stems from a confluence of factors, many of them related to the pandemic. The coronavirus has caused factories to shutter and clogged ports, disrupting the supply of goods that Americans stuck at home have wanted to buy, like electronics, televisions and home furnishings.That high demand has been fueled in part by consumers who are flush with cash after months of lockdown and repeated government payments, including stimulus checks. Research from the Federal Reserve has shown that inflation is most likely getting a temporary increase from the coronavirus relief package in March, which included $1,400 direct checks to families and generous unemployment benefits. But Mr. Biden’s social policy bill would do relatively little to spur increased consumer spending next year and not enough to offset the loss of government stimulus to the economy as pandemic aid expires.White House aides have tried to make that case to Mr. Manchin — and the public — in recent weeks, pointing to a series of analyses that have dismissed inflationary fears pegged to the bill. That includes analysis from a pair of Democratic economists who warned about rising inflation earlier this year — Harvard’s Lawrence H. Summers and Jason Furman — and from the nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania. All of those analyses conclude that the bill would add little or nothing to inflation in the coming year.The disconnect between economic reality and Mr. Manchin’s stated concerns has exasperated the White House, which is struggling with voter discontent toward Mr. Biden over rising prices, as well as an unyielding pandemic.In a scathing statement about Mr. Manchin on Sunday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, noted that the Penn Wharton analysis found Mr. Biden’s bill “will have virtually no impact on inflation in the short term, and in the long run, the policies it includes will ease inflationary pressures.”White House officials, who along with party leaders have spent weeks trying to bring Mr. Manchin to a place of comfort with Mr. Biden’s bill, registered a sense of betrayal after the senator’s declaration.Ms. Psaki said Mr. Manchin had last week personally submitted to the president an outline for a bill “that was the same size and scope as the president’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities.” He had also promised to continue discussions toward an agreement, she said.Republicans celebrated Mr. Manchin’s statement as evidence that the bill, which Democrats were attempting to pass along party lines, was full of inflationary policies that even the president’s own party could not get behind.Biden’s ​​Social Policy and Climate Bill at a GlanceCard 1 of 7The centerpiece of Biden’s domestic agenda. 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