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Democrats push reconciliation package as Biden's approval lags

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman discusses Democrats' plan to pass the reconciliation package as well as President Biden's approval rating.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Senate Democrats are redoubling their efforts to finalize a new spending package aimed at lowering health care costs just ahead of the August recess. Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joining us this morning. And Rick, you know, I'm looking at the calendar here. Some would say this is the last session before the recess, really, with the midterms coming up. What can we expect?

RICK NEWMAN: So these are some of the remnants of Biden's Build Back Better plan from last year, but it's not likely to include any of those social welfare programs that Biden wanted to put in-- things like funding for child care, and preschool for kids, and stuff like that. Mostly on the spending side, this would probably focus on green energy investments in climate change, more electric vehicles, perhaps tax incentives for green energy. And it would also focus on shoring up Medicare. So that's where the money would go, or what the spending would be on.

And then there'd have to be some revenue raisers, which would probably be a tax increase on what are known as pass through businesses and S corporations. And then there would be some savings from allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices under Medicare. And the last thing that Democrats think might generate some new revenue is more funding for the IRS so they could ramp up enforcement of tax evaders, and narrow that so-called tax gap which is many billions of dollars a year.

So there's a lot of skepticism that Democrats can get this done, because they've had a year and a half and they've produced nothing. But if they're going to show voters that they can do anything at all before the midterms, as you point out, it kind of needs to happen within the next couple of weeks before Congress leaves for the August recess.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. And Rick, away from Congress, I mean, it feels like there are these daily questions that are popping up about whether, in fact, President Biden is going to run again in 2024. Kamala Harris herself asked about it again this weekend. Yet we've got a new poll here that seems to point to an alarming level of doubt within his own party. What's going on?

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, this is a poll from the "New York Times." And they found that a significant majority of Democrats-- this is not all voters, this is just Democrats-- don't think Biden should run again in 2024. I think the number was 64% of Democrats said Biden should not run.

Many of the-- many Democrats just think he's too old. There are questions about his performance. And Democrats, like-- like all voters, are worried about the state of the economy, and mostly inflation.

So you almost have to feel sorry [LAUGHS] for Biden at this point. He's really flailing. His overall approval rating is around 39%. That is lower than Donald Trump's approval rating at the same point in the Trump presidency-- and, of course, Biden beat Trump.

And he's just not-- he just does not appear to be doing anything to address what voters think the biggest problems in the country are right now. And the problem, of course, is there's just not a lot Biden can do on inflation, on the precedents that the Supreme Court is overturning, and so on. So I think most people think Biden's a nice guy. They just don't think he's getting the job done.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, all about the pocketbook, right, in the end, Rick.

RICK NEWMAN: It is.

AKIKO FUJITA: Thanks so much for bringing us that story.

RICK NEWMAN: See you, Akiko.