Biden defends Manchin deal, loudly coughs during event from covid isolation

‘Look at the facts!’ Biden defends Inflation Reduction Act saying it WON’T raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400k – as he loudly clears throat and coughs during speech from COVID isolation

  • Biden tested positive again for covid on Thursday
  • His ‘very occasional cough’ is improving, says Dr. Kevin O’Connor 
  • Biden’s isolation comes at a pivotal time
  • Senate leaders hope to act on Manchin-Schumer climate and inflation bill 
  • Biden urged legislators to pass the deal
  • He bashed critics who say it would raise taxes 
  • CBO estimates the deal would reduct deficits by $102 billion, plus another $204 billion from new revenue 
  • ‘Pass it. Pass it. Get it t my desk. Pass it for the American people,’ Biden urged at a virtual event Thursday

President Joe Biden hammered opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act that Democratic leaders want to call up within days during a ‘virtual’ event from the White House amid his ongoing covid isolation.

‘Look at the facts!’ he told critics of the deal, which represents a last-ditch effort to salvage key climate and health elements of his domestic agenda.

‘Despite what some folks are saying, the Inflation Reduction Act makes sure that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes, notwithstanding all these ads you see on television,’ he said during a virtual event with labor and corporate leaders as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

He was referencing vocal opposition to the deal as Democrats scramble to nail down 50 votes for it after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reached agreement on the measure with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. Leading Republicans have trashed it, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page has been on the warpath against it.

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee commissioned an analysis from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation showing it would raise taxes on some people earning less than $400,000 – but Democrats pointed out the analysis did not examine the bills multitude of tax credits.

President Biden's 'very occasional cough' is improving, even as he continues to test positive for the coronavirus

President Biden’s ‘very occasional cough’ is improving, even as he continues to test positive for the coronavirus

That analysis forecasted that the deal’s 15 per cent corporate minimum tax on very large companies would find its way down to consumers, although the bill does not actually raise taxes on that group. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has yet to weigh in, although a leak Wednesday indicated she wants to strip out language to eliminate the $14 billion ‘carried interest loophole’ that goes after hedge funders.

At one point during Thursday’s even he coughed loudly in a burst picked up by his microphone. He also sipped from a paper cup. That came after White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor issued a new letter saying Biden, 79, still has ‘a very occasional cough’ but that it is improving. He is other-wise symptom free.

But Biden tested positive for covid again on Thursday and faces another day in isolation as his diagnosis drags on. 

After finally scoring some legislative wins, Biden turned up the heat on Congress. 

‘Pass it. Pass it. Get it t my desk. Pass it for the American people,’ he urged.

His battle with the virus didn’t keep Biden from cracking a well worn joke with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

‘I’ve spoken to the chairwoman about the possibility of my being able to buy one of those Corvettes that are electric vehicles when they come out,’ he said on the chat. 

‘I’m not going to be able to do it because I can’t drive a vehicle while I’m vice president – while I’m president, anymore than when I was vice president,’ he corrected himself.

The isolation is starting to get to Biden, he acknowledged Wednesday.

‘I wish I was with you in person, quite frankly,’ Biden said during another virtual meeting at the White House then. ‘But I’m getting there.’ 

Biden has been appearing at events this week via zoom, including on Wednesday when he joined the first meeting of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, which is headed by Vice President Kamala Harris.

He also delivered an evening speech from the White House residence to announce a U.S. strike had taken out Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The president’s isolation comes at a critical time. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer hopes to bring up a key ‘reconciliation’ vote on the deal he negotiated with Sen. Joe Manchin to spend billions on climate programs and establish a minimum 15 per cent corporate tax.  

But the White House appears to be planning for in-person events to return soon.

Biden will sign the PACT Act of 2022 in the Rose Garden on Monday of next week, the White House announced.

The legislation, which expands healthcare for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, passed the Senate in an overwhelming 86 to 11 vote on Tuesday evening. The House has already passed it.

Joe Biden partook in a 'light workout' on Wednesday

Joe Biden partook in a ‘light workout’ on Wednesday

Biden's isolation has come during a pivotal time, and included his announcement of the strike that took out al-Zawahiri

Biden’s isolation has come during a pivotal time, and included his announcement of the strike that took out al-Zawahiri

On Tuesday of next week Biden will sign the CHIPS Act, the White House said.

White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor provided his latest update on the president's condition

White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor provided his latest update on the president’s condition

It is not entirely clear for how long the president will remain grounded. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has said there are no CDC guidelines for people who are on ‘rebound’ COVID cases after an earlier infection. 

Biden first tested positive for covid on July 21 and experienced mild symptoms.

He tested negative on July 27 and returned to work in the West Wing, where he wore a face mask.

He tested positive again on July 30 with a rebound case of covid and has been in isolation ever since.

He last saw first lady Jill Biden on July 20th and has been spending a lot of time with the couple’s dog Commander as he works from his upstairs office. 

Biden took Paxlovid during his bout with covid and a small percentage of patients who take the antiviral drug have a rebound case of the virus. 

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