The centerpiece of President Biden's agenda is set to take center-stage in the Senate. This comes with less than two weeks remaining before Democrats' self-imposed Christmas deadline to pass the almost $2 trillion social spending and climate bill known as Build Back Better. Democrats say the bill will help with inflation by reducing costs for prescription drugs, childcare, education and more, while adding billions for rural development, Ag conservation, and forestry.

Republicans oppose the House-passed bill as fueling inflation, ballooning the deficit, and increasing taxes. However, top Ag Republican John Boozman said producers dodged one tax ‘bullet’.

“The stepped-up basis, making such that you would dramatically increase inheritance taxes, because of the push-back of the farm community. This would have been devastating to our family farms, small and medium-size, also, our small businesses, small and medium-size. We were able to push that off the table.”

But there are other new taxes, and the Congressional Budget Office says the Democrats’ bill will add $3 trillion to the deficit over ten years if its programs are extended, almost $400 billion if not. Senate Budget Republican, Idaho’s Mike Crapo said Democrats can ignore that fact.

“They can still move forward with the reconciliation bill, and I think the fact that they are pushing so hard, right now, means that they fully intend to do so.”

While Republicans try to keep lone-moderate Democrat objector Joe Manchin, negotiating bill changes, on their side. But Crapo and Boozman said still don’t know what Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will do.

Schumer said he wants to pass the Biden agenda bill by Christmas and ahead of the 2022 election year, while Manchin fears more inflation and has urged a spending pause, but is uncertain how he’ll vote if Schumer forces a vote.

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