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    House Democrats’ Plan to Tax the Rich Leaves Vast Fortunes Unscathed

    The House Ways and Means Committee’s proposal to pay for trillions in social spending leaves wealth gains and inheritances largely alone. It focuses instead on a more traditional target: income.WASHINGTON — House Democrats on Monday presented a plan to pay for their expansive social policy and climate change package by raising taxes by more than $2 trillion, largely on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations.But the proposal, while substantial in scope, stopped well short of changes needed to dent the vast fortunes of tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, or to thoroughly close the most egregious loopholes exploited by high-flying captains of finance. It aimed to go after the merely rich more than the fabulously rich.Facing the delicate politics of a narrowly divided Congress, senior House Democrats opted to be more mindful of moderate concerns in their party than of its progressive ambitions. They focused on traditional ways of raising revenue: by raising tax rates on income rather than targeting wealth itself.Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan, a Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which crafted the plan, called it “the boldest common denominator.”“Being for something doesn’t make it law; 218 votes in the House, 50 votes in the Senate and the president’s signature make it law,” he said, adding, “What I don’t want is another noble defeat.”The proposal includes nearly $2.1 trillion in increased tax revenues, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated on Monday. Democrats say those increases will go a long way to funding President Biden’s ambitions to expand the federal government’s role in education, health care, climate change, paid leave and more.But the bill dispenses with measures floated by the White House and Senate Democrats to tax wealth or to close off avenues that the superrich have exploited to pass on a lifetime of gains to their heirs tax-free.“It would be a monumental mistake for Congress to pass a bill that really exempts billionaires,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the Democratic chairman of the Finance Committee.Key Democrats cautioned on Monday that the House proposal was likely to change — perhaps considerably — as Mr. Biden’s economic agenda wends its way through the House and Senate, where Democrats hold slim majorities and must hold nearly every member of their ideologically diverse caucus together. But White House officials welcomed the Ways and Means plan and said it took important steps toward the president’s vision of a tax code that rewards ordinary workers at the expense of the very rich.The proposal includes substantial measures to raise taxes on the rich. Taxable income over $450,000 — or $400,000 for unmarried individuals — would be taxed at 39.6 percent, the top rate before President Donald J. Trump’s 2017 tax cut brought it to 37 percent. The top capital gains rate would rise to 25 percent from 20 percent, considerably less than a White House proposal that would have taxed investment gains as income for the richest, at 39.6 percent.Under the committee’s plan, a 3 percent surtax would be applied to incomes over $5 million.The proposal would also raise taxes in a variety of ways on businesses called pass-through entities — like many law firms and financial companies — that distribute profits to their owners, who then pay individual income taxes on them. Those changes, including the extension of an existing 3.8 percent surtax to include pass-through income, would raise taxes primarily on high earners, generating several hundred billion dollars in revenues, by Democratic estimates.The joint committee estimated on Monday that the changes would raise about $1 trillion from high-income individuals.Republicans balked at the proposal. Business lobbying groups rejected the package, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce slamming it as “an existential threat to America’s fragile economic recovery and future prosperity.”“President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are ramming through trillions of wasteful spending and crippling tax hikes that will drive prices up even higher, kill millions of American jobs and drive them overseas, and usher in a new era of government dependency with the greatest expansion of the welfare state in our lifetimes,” Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the committee’s ranking Republican, said of the plan.But what is not included is notable. The richest of the rich earn little from actual paychecks (Mr. Bezos’s salary as the founder of Amazon was $81,840 in 2020), so a surtax on income would have little impact. Their vast fortunes in stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets grow largely untaxed each year.“The proposal is extremely modest in the area of structural change,” said Eric Toder, a co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington. “Mostly, it is about raising rates on existing tax bases.”In the Senate, Democrats are taking aim directly at accumulated wealth. The Finance Committee has proposed a one-time surtax on billionaires’ fortunes, followed by annual levies on the gains in value of billionaires’ assets, similar to the way property taxes are adjusted each year to reflect gains in housing values.Mr. Biden’s expansive tax proposals, during his campaign and as president, did not include a wealth tax. But he and top senators had called for a variety of measures to more heavily tax inherited wealth and the investments of very high earners.Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, a Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, conceded on Monday that large swaths of wealth in the country were tied up in assets, not large salaries. But he said many Democrats were leery of going too far.“I am very suspect of a wealth tax,” he said. “I think it’s perceived as ‘soak the rich.’ I don’t think it is, but that’s how it’s perceived.”Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, a Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged that large swaths of wealth were tied up in assets, not large salaries. But he said many Democrats were leery of going too far.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York TimesThe committee did take aim at a loophole in retirement savings exploited by the billionaire Peter Thiel, who, according to a ProPublica investigation, was able to take a Roth individual retirement account worth less than $2,000 in 1999 and grow it to $5 billion, which could be completely shielded from taxation.To prevent such exploitation, the Ways and Means Committee would stop contributions to retirement accounts once they reach $10 million.In other areas, the committee appears to be making only glancing blows at the wealthiest Americans. Former President Barack Obama, Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden have all vowed to close the so-called carried interest loophole, in which private equity managers pay low capital gains taxes on the fees they charge clients, asserting that the money is not income because it is drawn from their clients’ investment gains.Senate Democrats have proposed closing the loophole completely, saving Treasury $63 billion over 10 years. The House proposal would merely limit the practice, forcing Wall Street financiers to hold their clients’ investment gains for five years before claiming them as capital gains and cashing out. It would save $14 billion, a fraction of the Senate proposal.Another item missing from the House plan: a measure to tax inheritances more aggressively. Mr. Biden and many other Democrats want assets such as stocks and real estate to be taxed when they are inherited by wealthy heirs, based on the gain in value from the time the original owner purchased them. Under current law, such assets face capital gains taxation only when they are sold, according to their worth when they were inherited, allowing all the gain in value over the lifetimes of the superwealthy to go untaxed as long as they are passed on to heirs.But the new proposal faced a fierce lobbying campaign, led by rural Democrats like former Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Max Baucus of Montana. Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, left it out.To some liberals, Mr. Neal’s pragmatism felt more like surrender.“America’s billionaires are popping Champagne tonight as the House Ways and Means Committee — led by Chair Richie Neal — fails the president, fails the country and fails history,” said Erica Payne, the president of Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy liberals that embraces much higher taxes on the rich.Some Democrats expressed surprise on Monday at Mr. Neal’s political calculations. “A wealth tax? I don’t know anyone who says that’s not working for them politically,” said Representative Donald S. Beyer Jr., Democrat of Virginia and a member of the committee.But with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, suggesting that the final package might have to be half the size of the House plan, Mr. Beyer said he understood why Democratic leaders did not want to make vulnerable lawmakers embrace the most aggressive options.“People will be saying, ‘You raised our taxes by $2.9 trillion,’” Mr. Beyer said. “Pelosi and leadership do not want to put a lot of threatened members on anything that’s just going to die in the Senate.”White House officials on Monday welcomed the House plan, while acknowledging that it was far from a final product.“We see it as a first step,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the deputy White House press secretary.Zolan Kanno-Youngs More

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    Democrats and Lobbyists to Battle Over Tax Increases for Biden’s Social Policy Bill

    Congressional committees this week begin drafting tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to pay for a $3.5 trillion social policy bill, but the targets are putting up a fight.WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats always knew their battle plan for raising taxes on corporations, large inheritances and the superwealthy would not survive initial contact with the enemy.They just didn’t realize that enemy would be North Dakota-nice Heidi Heitkamp.The Democratic former senator has emerged as the smiling face of a well-financed effort to defeat a proposed tax increase that is crucial to funding the $3.5 trillion social spending bill at the heart of President Biden’s agenda. Her effort is indicative of the difficult slog ahead as the business lobby mobilizes to chip away at Democrats’ tax-raising ambitions, which some lawmakers say will have to be scaled back to maintain party unity, an assessment the White House has disputed.On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee is set to begin formally drafting its voluminous piece of the 10-year measure to combat climate change and reweave the nation’s social safety net, with paid family and medical leave, expanded public education, new Medicare benefits and more. The committee’s purview includes much of that social policy, but also the tax increases needed to pay for it.Democrats had hoped that the tax side would be more than notations on an accounting ledger. They regard it as an opportunity to fundamentally change policies to address growing income inequality, reduce incentives for corporations to move jobs and profits overseas, and slow the amassing of huge fortunes that pass through generations untaxed.But corporate interests, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and Americans for Tax Reform, have mobilized a multifaceted lobbying and advertising blitz to stop the tax increases — or at least mitigate them.“They’re lobbying to try to escape their obligation to pay the taxes they owe, leaving working families to pay a larger share of the burden,” Mr. Biden said at the White House on Friday. “Somebody has got to pay.”The $3.5 trillion social spending bill would help fund expanded public education.Clara Mokri for The New York TimesMembers of the Senate Finance Committee will meet this week to go over more than two dozen tax proposals. Some of them are well on their way toward inclusion in the measure, which under a complex budget process known as reconciliation would be able to pass Congress without a single Republican vote.Lobbyists expect the top individual income tax rate to return to 39.6 percent from the 37 percent rate that President Donald J. Trump’s tax cuts created in 2017. The corporate income tax rate will also rise from the 21 percent in the Trump tax cuts, though not to the 35 percent rate of the Obama years. Lawmakers say a 25 percent rate is more likely.Many Democrats are determined to tax the wealth of America’s fabulously rich, much of which goes untaxed for decades before being passed along to heirs. Currently, for instance, when large estates are passed on at death, heirs are allowed to value the stocks, real estate and other assets at the price they would fetch at the time of the original owner’s death. They pay taxes only on the gain in value from that point once the assets are sold. If the assets are not sold, they are not taxed at all..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-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;}Mr. Biden wants to have heirs to large fortunes pay taxes when the original owner dies. Those taxes would be levied on inherited assets based on the gain in value from when those assets were initially purchased.Ms. Heitkamp, who said she was recruited to the opposition campaign by the Democratic former senator-turned-superlobbyist John Breaux, is adamant that taxation upon death, regardless of wealth, is deadly politics. Ms. Heitkamp said she was finding a receptive audience among potential swing voters in rural areas, especially owners of family farms, even though Democrats say such voters would never be affected by the changes under consideration. Lobbyists already expect this piece of the estate tax changes to wash out in the lobbying deluge.“This is very consistent with my concern about revitalizing the Democratic Party in rural America,” Ms. Heitkamp said. “You may want to do this,” she said she had counseled her former colleagues, “but understand there will be risk, and risk is the entire agenda.”Even more significantly, the Finance Committee is looking at taxing the accumulated wealth of billionaires, regardless of whether it is sold. Extremely wealthy Americans like the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would have a decade to pay a one-time tax on the value of assets like stocks that have been accruing value for years. They would then pay taxes each year on the annual gain in value of their stocks, bonds and other assets, much like many Americans pay property taxes on the annually assessed value of their homes.Another key component is the international tax code. The Biden administration has called for doubling the tax that companies pay on foreign earnings to 21 percent, so the United States complies with an international tax deal that the administration is brokering, which would usher in a global corporate minimum tax of at least 15 percent.The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development announced in July that more than 130 countries had agreed to the new framework, which aims to eliminate tax havens and end a race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. Officials have been rushing to confirm the details before the Group of 20 leaders meet in Rome in October.Extremely wealthy Americans like the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would have a decade to pay a one-time tax on the value of assets such as stocks that have been accruing value for years.Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesBut countries such as France are concerned that the United States will not be able to live up to its end of the bargain if Congress cannot raise the minimum tax.The moment of truth is approaching. Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas, a senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and 40 other members of his party on Tuesday backed the White House. Yet some Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern that U.S. companies would still be at a competitive disadvantage if other countries enacted minimum tax rates as low as 15 percent and the United States had a higher rate.Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen addressed those concerns in a Twitter post on Friday.“As Congress begins to finalize their legislation, I urge them to remember the historic opportunity that we have to end the race to the bottom and finally have a foreign policy and a tax code that works for the middle class,” she wrote.Republicans are already on the attack. After the disappointing monthly jobs report on Friday, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, said the slowing economy would “only get worse if the Democrats’ trillions in tax hikes and welfare spending is rammed through Congress in September.”Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Finance Committee, said he understood that business groups and Republicans would howl that the tax increases would kill jobs, stifle the economy and hurt ordinary, struggling Americans.“The big lobbies are going to attack you under any circumstance,” he said, “and half the time they’re just making it up.”But he insisted that the politics had changed. Americans who struggled during the coronavirus pandemic can see how rich others have become. New revelations from a trove of tax records leaked to ProPublica showed that household names like Mr. Bezos and Elon Musk paid virtually no federal taxes.Other lawmakers are not so sure, especially in the House, where midterm campaigns loom and a razor-thin Democratic majority is clearly at risk. Among the most vulnerable members are those from conservative-leaning districts where tax increases are particularly unpopular.“No one wants to throw the House away,” said Representative Donald S. Beyer Jr., Democrat of Virginia, a member of the Ways and Means Committee. “We’re all mindful of our frontline candidates.”Estate and capital gains tax changes proposed by the president and embraced by Mr. Wyden are aimed at the superrich, but the campaign against them frames the issue around family farms and small businesses. Ms. Heitkamp rebuffed Mr. Wyden’s assurance that he could structure the changes to affect only the very wealthy and the gain in value of their assets without taxation.“People don’t believe that, because they believe that rich people always have the lane to get into Congress,” she said. “I get that you’re trying to deal with a huge disparity in wealth in this country, and I get that you are concerned about that for the future of America. I share the concern. Taxing unrealized capital gains is not the path forward.”Some lawmakers and tax lobbyists are already circulating a document handicapping which measures are likely to survive — and which are not. A corporate tax rate increase at home and abroad is likely to pass, though it may not be as high as some Democrats would like. So is a higher top income tax rate on individuals. Capital gains tax rates are expected to rise somewhat, though not to the ordinary income tax rate of 39.6 percent for the very rich, as Mr. Biden has proposed.A measure to increase tax law enforcement, which fell out of a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill, is likely to reappear in the reconciliation bill.But lobbyists expect the proposal to make heirs pay immediate taxes on inheritances based on asset purchase prices to fall out of the plan.They also see a straight, 15 percent minimum tax on overseas income as imperiled. Even some measures that looked like slam dunks may still be rejected because of the back-room lobbying campaign that has just begun.“They’re lobbying to try to escape their obligation to pay the taxes they owe, leaving working families to pay a larger share of the burden,” Mr. Biden said of corporate interests on Friday at the White House.Stefani Reynolds for The New York TimesThat includes closing the so-called carried interest loophole, which allows richly compensated private equity and hedge fund managers to claim the fees they charge clients as investment income, subject to low capital gains tax rates, not income tax rates. Every president since Barack Obama has denounced the provision and demanded its closure, only to lose to influential lobbyists.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday started a campaign to stop the loophole from being closed, saying doing so “would reduce investment, lead to widespread job losses and decrease tax revenues.” Mr. Wyden called the assertions “insulting to the intelligence of every American.”Administration officials insisted that taxing the rich and corporations would help sell the bill.“Should we let millions of children grow up in poverty in order to protect offshore tax loopholes?” Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, wrote to House Democrats in a memo on Tuesday. “Should we let middle-class families bear crushing costs for child care and elder care rather than asking the very richest among us to pay their fair share? Those are the questions before us.” More

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    Democrats Roll Out $3.5 Trillion Budget to Fulfill Biden’s Broad Agenda

    “We’re going to get a lot done,” President Biden said, as Senate Democrats began drafting the details on a social and environmental bill that could yield transformative change.WASHINGTON — President Biden and congressional Democrats vowed on Wednesday to push through a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint to vastly expand social and environmental programs by extending the reach of education and health care, taxing the rich and tackling the warming of the planet.The legislation is still far from reality, but the details that top Democrats have coalesced around are far-reaching. Prekindergarten would be universal for all 3- and 4-year-olds, two years of community college would be free, utilities would be required to produce a set amount of clean energy, and prescription drug prices would be lowered. Medicare benefits would be expanded, and green cards would be extended to some undocumented immigrants.At a closed-door luncheon in the Capitol, Mr. Biden rallied Democrats and the independents aligned with them to embrace the plan, which would require every single one of their votes to move forward over united Republican opposition. But crucial moderate lawmakers had yet to say whether they would accept the proposal, with a majority of policy details left to resolve.Mr. Biden’s message to the senators on Wednesday, said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, was “be unified, strong, big and courageous.”Senate Democratic leaders have said they aim to pass both the budget blueprint and a narrower, bipartisan infrastructure plan that is still being written before the chamber leaves for the August recess — a complex and politically tricky task in a 50-50 Senate. The narrowly divided House would also have to pass the budget blueprint before both chambers begin tackling the detailed legislation.Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who must ultimately get the package through the House, embraced the deal, telling Democrats in a letter on Wednesday, “This budget agreement is a victory for the American people, making historic, once-in-a-generation progress for families across the nation.”The outline includes large swaths of Mr. Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda. It wraps in every major category from his American Families Plan, including investments in child care, paid leave and education, and expanded tax credits that this week will begin providing a monthly check to most families with children.“I think we’re going to get a lot done,” Mr. Biden told reporters as he left his first in-person lunch with the Democratic caucus as president.Nodding to budget constraints, party leaders conceded that many of the programs included in their plan — including the tax credits — could be temporary, leaving a future Congress to decide whether to extend them further.The proposal also includes some measures that go beyond what Mr. Biden has called for, like expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits. Democratic leaders left it to the Senate Finance Committee to decide whether to include reducing the eligibility age for Medicare to 60, a priority of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Budget Committee chairman.The resolution would also create what would effectively be a tax on imports from countries with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. That could violate Mr. Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year if the tax is imposed on products that typical consumers buy, such as electronics from China.Democrats on Mr. Sanders’s committee must produce a budget resolution in the coming days that includes so-called reconciliation instructions to other Senate committees, which in turn will draft legislation detailing how the $3.5 trillion would be spent — and how taxes would be raised to pay for it.That would pave the way for Democrats to produce a reconciliation bill this fall that would be shielded from a filibuster, allowing them to circumvent Republican opposition but requiring all 50 of their members — and a majority in the narrowly divided House — to pass it.“In some cases, it doesn’t provide all the funding that I would like to do right now,” Mr. Sanders said. “But given the fact that we have 50 members, and that compromises have got to be made, I think this is a very, very significant step forward.”He added: “If you’re asking me at the end of the day, do I think we’re going to pass this? I do.”A neighborhood in Austin, Texas, where many homes have solar panels. The blueprint of the legislation includes clean energy provisions and other social programs.Tamir Kalifa for The New York TimesAt the private lunch, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, outlined the proposal and the directives it would lay out.Democrats included the creation of a civilian climate corps to add jobs to address climate change and conservation, and to provide for child care, home care and housing investments. They are also expected to try to include a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants and address labor protections.Democrats would also extend expanded subsidies for Americans buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that were included in the broad pandemic aid law that Mr. Biden signed this year.Huge investments would go to renewable energy and a transformed electrical system to move the U.S. economy away from oil, natural gas and coal to wind, solar and other renewable sources. The budget blueprint is to include a clean energy standard, which would mandate the production of electricity driven by renewable sources and bolster tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars and trucks.To fully finance the bill, it is expected to include higher taxes on overseas corporate activities to alleviate incentives for sending profits overseas, higher capital gains rates for the wealthy, higher taxes on large inheritances and stronger tax law enforcement.Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Finance Committee, said on Wednesday that he was also preparing to overhaul a deduction for companies not organized as corporations, like many small businesses and law firms — created by the 2017 Republican tax law — in order to cut taxes from small businesses but raise additional revenues from wealthy business owners.Specific provisions will have to pass muster with the strict budgetary rules that govern the reconciliation process, which require that provisions affect spending and taxation, not just lay out new policies. The Senate parliamentarian could force Democrats to overhaul or outright jettison the clean energy standard, the provision that climate activists and many scientists most desire, as well as the immigration and labor provisions, among others.Moderate Democrats, who had balked at a progressive push to spend as much as $6 trillion on Mr. Biden’s entire economic agenda, largely declined to weigh in on the blueprint until they saw detailed legislation, saying they needed to evaluate more than an overall spending number.“We’ve got to get more meat on the bones for me,” Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, told reporters, though he added that he would ultimately vote for the budget blueprint. “I’ve got to get more information on what’s in it.”The size of the package could be shaped by the success or failure of the bipartisan infrastructure plan, which would devote nearly $600 billion in new spending to roads, bridges, tunnels, transit and broadband. The group of lawmakers negotiating that package has yet to release legislative text as they haggle over the details of how to structure and pay for the plan.“I want to be able to tell people in South Carolina: I’m for this, I’m not for that,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.Stefani Reynolds for The New York TimesIf Republicans cannot deliver enough votes to move the package past a filibuster, Democrats could simply fold physical infrastructure spending into their reconciliation plan and take away any chance for Republicans to shape it, said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and one of the negotiators of the bipartisan bill.“If we don’t pass infrastructure, they’re going to put even more infrastructure in than we have and worse policies,” said Mr. Portman, who fielded skepticism from his colleagues at a private Republican lunch on Tuesday. Some Republicans had hoped that a bipartisan accord on physical infrastructure projects would siphon momentum from a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package. Instead, it appears very much on track, and it may intensify the pressure on Republicans to come to terms on a bipartisan package, even if they fiercely oppose the rest of the Democrats’ agenda.“I want to be able to tell people in South Carolina: I’m for this, I’m not for that,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Budget Committee and a peripheral presence in the bipartisan talks.He added that the lengthy floor debate over the blueprint would allow Republicans to “ferociously attack it, to have amendments that draw the distinctions between the parties, to scream to high heaven that this is not infrastructure.”Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a moderate Democrat, said he looked “forward to reviewing this agreement” but was also interested in how the programs would be financed.Sarahbeth Maney/The New York TimesSenator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the centrist Democrat whose support might be determinative, told reporters after lunch with the president that he had concerns about some of the climate language. But he did not rule out supporting the budget proposal or the subsequent package. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona and another key moderate, also hung back on Wednesday.Still, the $3.5 trillion package had plenty in it to appeal to senior Democrats who were eager to use it to advance their longtime priorities. For Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, it was an extension of a more generous child tax credit, as well as subsidies for child care, prekindergarten and paid family leave.For Mr. Sanders, it was the Medicare and climate provisions.“Finally, we are going to have America in the position of leading the world in combating climate change,” he said.Mr. Tester said the need for school construction was so high that trillions could go to that alone.“The plan is a strong first step,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, adding that she was focused on funding universal child care. “We’re slicing up the money now to find the right ways to make that happen.”The budget measure is expected to include language prohibiting tax increases on small businesses, farms and people making less than $400,000, fulfilling a promise Mr. Biden has maintained throughout the negotiations. Asked on Wednesday whether the proposed carbon tariff would violate that pledge, Mr. Wyden replied, “We’ve not heard that argument.”Lisa Friedman More

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    Democrats Propose $3.5 Trillion Budget to Advance with Infrastructure Deal

    The measure, which would include money to address climate change, expand Medicare and fulfill other Democratic priorities, is intended to deliver on President Biden’s economic proposal.WASHINGTON — Top Democrats announced on Tuesday evening that they had reached agreement on an expansive $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, including plans to pour money into addressing climate change and expanding Medicare among an array of other Democratic priorities, that they plan to advance alongside a bipartisan infrastructure deal.Combined with nearly $600 billion in new spending on physical infrastructure contained in the bipartisan plan, which omits many of Democrats’ highest ambitions, the measure is intended to deliver on President Biden’s $4 trillion economic proposal. The budget blueprint, expected to be dominated by spending, tax increases and programs that Republicans oppose, would pave the way for a Democrats-only bill that leaders plan to push through Congress using a process known as reconciliation, which shields it from a filibuster.To push the package — and the reconciliation bill that follows — through the evenly divided Senate, Democrats will have to hold together every member of their party and the independents aligned with them over what promises to be unified Republican opposition. It was not clear if all 50 lawmakers in the Democratic caucus, which includes centrists unafraid to break with their party like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had signed off the blueprint. The package is considerably smaller than the $6 trillion some progressives had proposed but larger than some moderates had envisioned.Mr. Biden was set to attend lunch on Wednesday with Democrats, his first in-person lunch with the caucus since taking office, to rally the party around the plan and kick off the effort to turn it into a transformative liberal package. The blueprint, and subsequent bill, will also have to clear the House, where Democrats hold a razor-thin margin.The agreement, reached among Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and the 11 senators who caucus with the Democrats on the Budget Committee, came after a second consecutive day of meetings that stretched late into the evening. Louisa Terrell, Mr. Biden’s head of legislative affairs, and Brian Deese, his National Economic Council director, were also present for the meeting.“We are very proud of this plan,” Mr. Schumer said, emerging from the session flanked by the other Democrats in the corridor outside his office just off the Senate floor. “We know we have a long road to go. We’re going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans’ lives a whole lot better.”Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the liberal chairman of the Budget Committee, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a key moderate who is negotiating the details of the bipartisan framework, also confirmed their support for the agreement, in impassioned remarks.“This is, in our view, a pivotal moment in American history,” proclaimed Mr. Sanders, who had initially called for a package as large as $6 trillion.Details about the outline were sparse on Tuesday evening, as many of the specifics of the legislative package will be hammered out after the blueprint is adopted. Mr. Warner said the plan would be fully paid for, though Democrats did not offer specifics about how they planned to do so. Discussions of how to raise that money are expected to continue in the coming days, one aide said.“I make no illusions how challenging this is going to be,” said Mr. Warner, who made a point of thanking both the committee and the bipartisan group he had been negotiating with. “I can’t think of a more meaningful effort that we’re taking on than what we’re doing right now.”The resolution is expected to include language prohibiting tax increases on small businesses and people making less than $400,000, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the accord, who disclosed details on the condition of anonymity.Mr. Schumer said the resolution would call for an expansion of Medicare to provide money for dental, vision and hearing benefits, a priority for liberals like Mr. Sanders. It is also likely to extend a temporary provision in the president’s pandemic relief law that greatly expands subsidies for Americans purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, one of the largest health measures since the law was passed more than a decade ago.“Every major program” requested by Mr. Biden would be “funded in a robust way,” Mr. Schumer said.Democrats will now have to hammer out the terms of the budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which Mr. Schumer has said he hopes to pass in the Senate before the chamber leaves for the August recess. Once the resolution is passed, the caucus will then draft the legislative package, which will fund and detail their ambitious proposals — and most likely impose hefty tax increases on the rich and on corporations to pay for them.Even before the agreement was reached, committees had quietly been working on a series of proposals for the bill and discussing how to keep the bill within the confines of the strict rules that govern the reconciliation process.The Senate Finance Committee had been drafting tax provisions to help pay for the spending. They include a restructuring the international business tax code to tax overseas profits more heavily in an effort to discourage U.S. corporations from moving profits abroad. They would also collapse dozens of tax benefits aimed at energy companies — especially oil and gas firms — into three categories focused on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.Finance Committee Democrats will now turn their attention to the individual side of the tax code, where they want to raise taxes on large inheritances and raise capital gains tax rates on the richest Americans.On the spending side, Mr. Biden, working with Mr. Sanders, wants to make prekindergarten access universal and two years of community college free to all Americans. Money is expected to be devoted to a series of climate provisions, after liberal Democrats warned that they would not support the bipartisan framework without the promise of further climate action.Democrats also want to extend tax credits that were in the pandemic recovery plan for many years to come, including a $300-per-child credit for poor and middle-income families that began this week.The bipartisan infrastructure framework is expected to total $1.2 trillion, though about half that amount is simply the expected continuation of existing federal programs. Still, the nearly $600 billion in new spending, combined with funds already approved in Mr. Biden’s pandemic relief law and the pending infrastructure plan, could be transformative, steering government largess toward poor and middle-class families in amounts not seen since the New Deal.Jonathan Weisman More

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    Yellen Makes Case for Ireland to Join Global Tax Deal

    The Treasury secretary was in Europe to gather support for the tax plan, an agreement that gained the support of the Group of 20 nations on Saturday.BRUSSELS — The United States is hopeful that Ireland will drop its resistance to joining the global tax agreement that it is brokering, as Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen made the case to her Irish counterpart this week that it is in its economic interests to join the deal.During a weeklong trip to Europe, Ms. Yellen worked to gather more support for a global plan that is intended to put an end to tax havens and curb profit shifting with a new global minimum tax. The agreement, which gained the support of the Group of 20 nations on Saturday, would usher in a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent. It would also change how taxing rights were allocated, allowing countries to collect levies from large, profitable multinational firms based on where their goods and services were sold.“For Ireland, low taxes has been an economic strategy that has been incredibly successful,” Ms. Yellen said in an interview on Tuesday ahead of her return to Washington. “They see it as very vital to their economic success. And I think to go along with it, probably they need to be able to make the case that it’s in the interest of the country.”Ms. Yellen held high-stakes meetings in Brussels this week with Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister and president of the Eurogroup, a club of European finance ministers. She needs Mr. Donohoe’s support because the European Union requires unanimity among its members to formally join the deal, which will require changes to domestic tax laws.After meeting with Ms. Yellen on Monday, Mr. Donohoe struck a positive tone and said he would continue to engage in the process.Despite growing global support for the deal, much work remains to be done.More than 130 countries have backed a framework of the global agreement, which would be the largest shake-up of the international tax system in decades, but important holdouts like Ireland, Hungary and Estonia remain. With stops in Venice and Brussels on her first trip to Europe as Treasury secretary, Ms. Yellen worked with her counterparts to develop a strategy for getting those countries to drop their concerns and join the agreement so that a final pact can be secured by October.Ms. Yellen told her Irish counterpart that Ireland’s economic model would not be upended if it increased its tax rate from 12.5 percent, noting that it would still have a large gap between its rate and the 21 percent tax rate on foreign earnings that the Biden administration has proposed.The Biden administration believes that the agreement, if enacted, will end the “race to the bottom” on corporate taxation, heralding a new era of corporate governance that will help nations finance new infrastructure investments and reduce inequality. Greater tax fairness could also aid in pushing back against the rise of right-wing populists, who have come to power around the world on a wave of frustration that working-class citizens have been forgotten by the elites.“Globalization is not just serving to enrich the rich further and harm the poor,” Ms. Yellen said. “In some broader sense the international tax piece is about that.”Top economic officials are working out complicated details of the global tax plan and will be scrambling to finish them in the coming months. One thorny issue that emerged at the G20 meetings in Venice last weekend was how tax revenue will be allocated around the world as part of a new tax on the largest and most profitable companies.Selling the agreement in the United States could be the biggest challenge. Congress is narrowly divided, and Republicans have been adamant that they will not support tax increases, giving the Biden administration a narrow margin for success even if it is able to pass most of its proposed tax changes with only votes from Democrats.Republican lawmakers have complained that the United States is “surrendering” its tax base by allowing other countries to impose new levies on its companies. For instance, in some cases, China will be able to collect new tax revenue from American businesses that sell products there. However, the United States will probably be able to collect taxes from some Chinese companies that do business in the United States. It is not clear if China would have a net gain from that part of the deal.Ms. Yellen portrayed the global tax as part of a broader economic reckoning that the Biden administration believes needs to happen in order to prepare the United States — and the rest of the world — for future fiscal needs.She pointed to the Biden administration’s tax plans, which include raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, as central to that approach, saying the administration wants to address what she considers to be the unfairness of the tax code in the United States.“It just isn’t right for very successful companies to be able to avoid paying their fair share to support expenditures that we need to invest in our economy, to invest in our work force, in R.&D. and a social safety net that’s operational,” Ms. Yellen said.Yet resistance is mounting from corporate America, with business groups warning that the possibility of $2 trillion in corporate tax increases would make American companies less competitive around the world. And with rising prices continuing to be a concern among policymakers in the United States, business interests have said the tax increases could fuel inflation, as companies pass them on to consumers.Ms. Yellen dismissed that theory, arguing that most of the economic research has found that corporate tax increases mostly fall on past investments and would not harm workers or lead to prices rising faster.“There’s no reason to think that changing corporate taxes would have some direct impact on prices,” Ms. Yellen said. More

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    E.U. Delays Digital Levy as Tax Talks Proceed

    The postponement came as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrived in Brussels to continue pushing for a global minimum tax.BRUSSELS — The United States secured a diplomatic victory in Europe on Monday when European Union officials agreed to postpone their proposal for a digital levy that threatened to derail a global effort to crack down on tax havens.The delay removes another potential obstacle to the broader tax agreement, which gained momentum over the weekend after finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries formally backed a new framework. That deal, which officials hope to make final by October, would usher in a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent and allow countries to tax large, profitable companies based on where their goods and services are sold. If enacted, the changes would entail the biggest overhaul of the international tax system in a century.With those negotiations in their final stretch, the European Union was planning to propose a 0.3 percent tax on the goods and services sold online by all companies operating in the European Union with annual sales of at least 50 million euros. That was intended to help fortify a fiscal recovery fund and had been in development since last year, when the international talks taking place at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development appeared to be on life support.But that new levy had been unacceptable to U.S. officials, who viewed it as disproportionately hitting American firms. As Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen arrived in Brussels to pressure the European Union to drop or delay the plan, officials announced on Monday that it would be shelved.“I think we will work together to reach this global agreement,” Paolo Gentiloni, European commissioner for economy, told reporters after a meeting with Ms. Yellen. “In this framework I informed Secretary Yellen of our decision to put on hold the proposal of the commission of a digital levy to allow to us to concentrate, working hand in hand to achieve the last mile of this historic agreement.”A European Commission spokesman suggested that the delay would remain in place until October, a time frame that is in line with the deadline set by the O.E.C.D. to complete a global tax agreement.Ahead of a meeting with the Eurogroup, a club of euro-area finance ministers, Ms. Yellen had waved off questions about the significance of the digital levy delay. A Treasury Department spokeswoman said she had no comment.At a news conference in Venice on Sunday, Ms. Yellen made clear that she believed that the new E.U. proposal ran counter to the broader talks over a minimum tax and the elimination of digital services taxes in Europe and other countries.“It’s really up to the European Commission and the members of the European Union to decide how to proceed, but those countries have agreed to avoid putting in place in the future and to dismantle taxes that are discriminatory against U.S. firms,” Ms. Yellen said.Other finance ministers indicated that the delay was another sign of progress.“It’s very, very good that we are now going to the next step, discussing how we will implement this at the European Union and that the European Union is deciding not to go with its own proposal to the public today,” Olaf Scholz, Germany’s finance minister, said as he entered the meeting.The E.U. digital levy proposal faced a difficult path to becoming law in Europe, but the prospect of a new proposal that could be construed as a tax that targets American companies would have been another distraction for the fragile negotiations.The United States has already been angered by other digital taxes that countries like France, Italy and Britain have enacted, which are separate from the new proposal. More than a dozen countries have enacted or announced plans in recent years to move forward with their own digital taxes.The Biden administration has asked countries to immediately drop their digital taxes and has prepared retaliatory tariffs on a wide swath of European goods, including cheese, wine and clothing. As part of the global tax negotiations, countries have said they are willing to do so in exchange for additional tax on the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises, those with profit margins of at least 10 percent, that would be based on where their goods or services were sold, even if they had no physical presence there.France, Europe’s biggest proponent of a digital tax, had no comment Monday. Its finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, had said during the weekend that France would legally commit to withdrawing its digital services tax only after an agreement was in effect, which is unlikely to happen before 2023.In remarks at the meeting on Monday, Ms. Yellen emphasized the importance of a close relationship between the United States and the European Union and underscored the importance of the global tax agreement that she has been helping to broker. She argued that a deal over a global minimum tax would help European nations make important investments in their economies and reduce inequality.“Long-run fiscal sustainability is critically important, which is one of the reasons why we need to continue working collectively to implement a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent, in line with the commitment the G20 made just days ago,” Ms. Yellen said. “We hope all E.U. member states will join the consensus and the European Union will move forward on this issue at E.U. level.”Ms. Yellen made the case that fiscal sustainability should be achieved by taxing multinational companies, adding: “We need sustainable sources of revenue that do not rely on further taxing workers’ wages and exacerbating the economic disparities that we are all committed to reducing.”The meeting also offered Ms. Yellen an opportunity to persuade Ireland to join the global agreement. Ireland, Estonia and Hungary have yet to sign on to the deal, which is now backed by 132 countries. Because support must be unanimous within the European Union, their resistance could scuttle the entire agreement.The United States has been trying to make the case to Ireland that the proposed tax changes in the United States that aim to curb profit shifting would nullify many of the benefits Ireland had gained from having a tax rate of just 12.5 percent. They are also trying to convince Ireland that its status as a corporate hub would be secure even if it raised its tax rate, hoping to alleviate Irish concerns that joining the agreement would upend its economic model.O.E.C.D. officials believe that Ireland is withholding its support for the agreement until the Biden administration demonstrates that it can pass tax legislation in the United States. Ms. Yellen will return to Washington on Tuesday and work with members of Congress to win support for the deal.After a meeting with Ms. Yellen, Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister and president of the Eurogroup, offered an optimistic tone but made no commitments. He said that he had a “very good engagement” with the Treasury secretary and that there was “further work ahead.”“I affirmed to Secretary Yellen that Ireland remains very committed to the process,” Mr. Donohoe said, promising that he would remain “constructively engaged.”Liz Alderman More

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    Global Tax Overhaul Gains Steam as G20 Backs New Levies

    The approach marks a reversal of years of economic policies that embraced low taxes as a way for countries to attract investment and fuel growth.VENICE — Global leaders on Saturday agreed to move ahead with what would be the most significant overhaul of the international tax system in decades, with finance ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies backing a proposal that would crack down on tax havens and impose new levies on large, profitable multinational companies.If enacted, the plan could reshape the global economy, altering where corporations choose to operate, who gets to tax them and the incentives that nations offer to lure investment. But major details remain to be worked out ahead of an October deadline to finalize the agreement and resistance is mounting from businesses, which could soon face higher tax bills, as well as from small, but pivotal, low-tax countries such as Ireland, which would see their economic models turned upside down.After spending the weekend huddled in the halls of an ancient Venetian naval shipyard, the top economic officials from the Group of 20 nations agreed to forge ahead. They formally threw their support behind a proposal for a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent that each country would adopt and new rules that would require large global businesses, including technology giants like Amazon and Facebook, to pay taxes in countries where their goods or services are sold, even if they have no physical presence there.“After many years of discussions and building on the progress made last year, we have achieved a historic agreement on a more stable and fairer international tax architecture,” the finance ministers said in a joint statement, or communiqué, at the conclusion of the meetings.The approach marks a reversal of years of economic policies that embraced low taxes as a way for countries to attract investment and fuel growth. Instead, countries are coalescing around the view that they must fund infrastructure, public goods and prepare for future pandemics with more fiscal firepower at their disposal, prompting a global hunt for revenue.“I see this deal as being something that’s good for all of us, because as everyone knows, for decades now, the world community, including the United States, we’ve been participating in this self-defeating international tax competition,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on the sidelines of the G20 summit. “I’m really hopeful that with the growing consensus that we’re on a path to a tax regime that will be fair for all of our citizens.”The agreement followed a joint statement last week that was signed by 130 countries who expressed support for a conceptual framework that has been the subject of negotiations at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for the better part of the last decade. The O.E.C.D. estimates that the proposal would raise an additional $150 billion of global tax revenue per year and move taxing rights of over $100 billion in profits to different countries.The backing of the broad framework by the finance ministers on Saturday represented a critical step forward, but officials acknowledged that the hardest part lies ahead as they try to finalize an agreement by the time the leaders of the Group of 20 nations meet in Rome in October.Among the biggest hurdles is an ongoing reluctance by low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland, Hungary and Estonia, which have refused to sign on to the pact, potentially dooming the type of overhaul that Ms. Yellen and others envision. Hungary and Estonia have raised concerns that joining the agreement might violate European Union law and Ireland, which has a tax rate of 12.5 percent, fears that it will upend its economic model, siphoning the foreign investment that has powered its economy.Absent unanimous approval among the members of the European Union, an accord would stall. Establishing a minimum tax would require an E.U. directive, and directives require backing by all 28 countries in the union. Ireland had previously hinted that they would object to or block a directive and Hungary could prove to be an even bigger hurdle given its fraught relationship with the union, which has pressed Hungary on unrelated rule-of-law and corruption issues.Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary has stated that taxes are a sovereign issue and recently called a proposed global minimum corporate tax “absurd.” Hungary’s low corporate rate of 9 percent has helped it lure major European manufacturers, especially German carmakers including Mercedes and Audi.Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said on Saturday that it was important that all of Europe supports the proposal. G20 countries plan to meet with Ireland, Hungary and Estonia next week to try and address their concerns, he said.“We will discuss the point next week with the three countries that still have some doubts,” he said. “I really think the impetus given by the G20 countries is clearly a decisive one and that this breakthrough should gather all European nations together.”Policymakers also have yet to determine the exact rate that companies will pay, with the United States and France pushing to go above 15 percent, and negotiations are continuing over which firms will be subject to the tax and who will be excluded. The framework currently exempts financial services firms and extractive industries such as oil and gas, a carve-out that tax experts have suggested could open a big loophole as companies try to redefine themselves to meet the requirements for exemptions.Domestic politics could also pose hurdles for the countries that have agreed to join but need to turn that commitment into law, including in the United States, where Republican lawmakers have signaled their disapproval, saying the plan would hurt American firms. Big business interests are also warily eyeing the pact and suggesting they plan to fight anything that puts American companies at a disadvantage.“The most important thing is understanding that if there is going to be an agreement, that there cannot be an agreement that is punitive toward U.S. companies,” said Neil Bradley, the chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “And that, of course, is of great concern.”A report this month from the European Network for Economic and Fiscal Policy Research found that only 78 companies are expected to be affected by the overhaul but nearly two-thirds of them are American. The researchers estimated that the new taxes would raise $87 billion in revenue and that Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Intel, and Facebook would pay $28 billion of that total.At the heart of the proposal is the idea that, if countries all agree to a minimum tax, it will prevent businesses from seeking out low-tax jurisdictions for their headquarters, depriving their home countries of revenue. Ms. Yellen has criticized what she calls a “race to the bottom” in global taxation.Ms. Yellen said that she would be working in the coming months to address the concerns of countries with reservations but that the deal could still proceed even if some countries did not join. She pointed to an enforcement mechanism that would raise U.S. taxes on corporations that have headquarters in countries that continue to be tax havens but do business in America.Still, changing domestic tax laws will not be quick or easy, including in the United States, whose success in ushering in a new tax regime is being closely watched as a harbinger of whether a global overhaul can come to pass. Senior officials at the G20 meetings said that approval of the agreement within the United States was crucial to its broader acceptance.Republican lawmakers have suggested they will put up a fight.Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee and one of the architects of the 2017 tax cuts, said that the Biden administration’s tax proposals would never pass.“Certainly in Congress there’s a great deal of skepticism,” Mr. Brady said in a telephone interview this week. “My prediction is that at the end of the day, even if an agreement is reached, what the president will bring back to Congress is an agreement that advantages foreign companies and workers over American ones.”Ms. Yellen indicated that Democrats were prepared to pass as many of the tax changes as they can through a budgetary procedure called reconciliation that would alleviate the need for Republican votes. She assured her international counterparts that the Biden administration was ready to deliver its end of the bargain and pushed back against the idea that the new tax system would harm American workers.“For the United States, it’s going to be a fundamental shift in how we choose to compete in the world economy,” Ms. Yellen said. “Not a competition based on rock-bottom tax rates, but rather on the skills of our work force, our ability to innovate and our fundamental talents.”Policymakers continue to grapple with what the global minimum tax rate will be and what exactly will be subject to the tax.A separate proposal calls for an additional tax on the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises, those with profit margins of at least 10 percent. Officials want to apply that tax to at least 20 percent of profit exceeding that 10 percent margin for those companies, but continue to debate how the proceeds would be divided among countries around the world. Developing economies are pushing to ensure that they will get their fair share.Mr. Bradley, of the Chamber, said that the details of a final agreement would determine how punitive it would be for companies. Representatives from Google and Facebook have been in touch with senior Treasury officials as the process has played out.American businesses are also worried about being put at a disadvantage by a 21 percent tax that President Biden has proposed on their overseas profits, if their foreign competitors are only paying 15 percent. The Biden administration also wants to raise the domestic corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. Democrats in Congress are moving forward with legislation to make those changes to the tax code this year.“If a U.S. company is trying to compete globally with a significantly higher tax burden because of this significantly higher minimum tax on its operations, that’s a competitive issue for being able to be successful,” said Barbara Angus, a global tax policy leader at Ernst & Young.Washington and Europe also remain at odds over how to tax digital giants like Google and Amazon. At the G20 summit, finance ministers expressed optimism that such obstacles could be overcome. In his closing news conference after the deal was reached, Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, hailed the agreement as historic and called on the countries that had yet to join to reconsider.“To accept global rules is, for each country, difficult. Each country has to be prepared to compromise,” Mr. Franco said. “To have worldwide rules for taxing multinationals, for taxing the profits of big companies is a major change, is a major achievement.”Liz Alderman More

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    Biden's Plan: President to Propose $6 Trillion Budget to Boost Middle Class, Infrastructure

    The president’s plans to invest in infrastructure, education, health care and more would push federal spending to its highest sustained levels since World War II.WASHINGTON — President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II as he looks to fund a sweeping economic agenda that includes large new investments in education, transportation and fighting climate change. More