A wealth tax will likely be part of the massive spending bill being sought by Democrats and the White House, but that wouldn't be enough to pay for everything that is being sought, even with cuts to the original $3.5 trillion bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
"We probably will have a wealth tax, but it's only 10% of what we need," the California Democrat said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that "we're almost there" on an agreement on the spending bill's total cost and provisions and that a vote on the separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill will likely happen this week.
President Joe Biden has expressed confidence that Democrats will deliver a spending bill, but that its cost will be far less than the $3.5 trillion that had been sought.
"It is less than was projected, to begin with, but still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America's working families," said Pelosi, noting that the bill is about healthcare, climate, jobs, and more.
"We will have something that will meet the president's goals," she promised. "I feel very confident about that, even though it will be different from what we originally proposed."
She has set a deadline of Oct. 31 to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which House progressives have said they won't vote to pass unless the larger social spending bill is passed first.
Two deadlines have already been missed on passing the larger bill, but Pelosi refused to blame that on the progressive wing in her chamber.
"The deadline was missed because they changed [the bill] from $3.5 trillion to one half of that, and we've had to go in and cut everything is good in the bill," said Pelosi, adding that Oct. 31 is a vital date for the passage of the infrastructure bill because on that day, the Highway Trust Fund authorization expires.
"If that expires, we have to get billions of dollars someplace to continue that," said Pelosi. "The best way to do that is to pass the bill."
Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who has continued to object to the bill, are still negotiating on finalizing the bill, said Pelosi, and she's optimistic they will reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, the final version of the bill, which will come from the Senate, hasn't been written yet, said Pelosi, adding that Democrats hope it will be introduced on Monday. At that point, she said, the House Joint Tax Committee can evaluate what different taxes will bring in.
"On our side, we have been totally ready with alternatives in terms of House and Senate and the White House," she said.
Pelosi said she's respectful of all points of view when she was asked if she's frustrated by the opposition from Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., which has led to the spending bill being on hold.
She also said she does not want former President Donald Trump's tax cuts to continue, but at the same time, the taxes must be equitable to pay for the country's needs.
"You can't use the wealth tax and tax the billionaires, which is what we should be doing, and let corporate Americans off the hook," said Pelosi. "Corporate America will be paying because of the overseas tax and some of the other provisions that are very technical to go into right now. We'll know more tomorrow to see what makes the cut, and then if it is worth the time to go into it."
The speaker further discussed the nation's debt ceiling, saying that Democrats have had a plan to end it, and while she would rather have a bipartisan vote on that, her mind is open to using reconciliation to approve that measure.
However, even with the spending bill getting the most attention at this point, Pelosi insisted Sunday that the "most important vote" before Congress now is for the Voting Rights Act.
"The vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy, that [is] the one vote that the filibuster could enable to go forward," Pelosi said.
The bill is important because it addresses "stopping the suppression of the vote and the nullification of the elections."
The speaker also spoke out about the House vote this past week to hold Steve Bannon, one of Trump's closest allies, in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol.
"We haven't had an insurrection incited by the president of the United States and one of his toadies having advanced knowledge of that happened, so it's important for us to find the truth about what happened on Jan. 6," Pelosi said. "It's also important in terms of the separation of power and checks and balances of the Constitution, which is the genius of the Constitution."
She pointed out that she doesn't get involved in the committee's actions, but "they have everything on the table."
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