Big business coalition takes aim at Democrats' $3.5T spending package

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EXCLUSIVE: A recently formed coalition of more than 30 business and industry groups is launching the first in a series of planned ads taking aim at the $3.5 trillion spending package being pushed by congressional Democrats and President Biden.

The ad blitz comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struggles to advance the package through the chamber.

"Biden, Pelosi, and Bernie [Sanders] are pushing a job-killing agenda that will hammer Main Street businesses and working families," charges the narrator in the digital spot by America’s Job Creators for a Strong Recovery, which was shared first with Fox News on Tuesday.

The group says it will be spending six figures to run the initial ad, which targets moderate Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, who could face a challenging reelection in the 2022 midterms.

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"Sen. Mark Kelly voted for President Biden’s first $2 trillion spending bill, giving bailouts to California and New York. Now Biden and Bernie want Kelly’s vote for $3.5 trillion of additional spending and job-killing tax increases that will destroy thousands of Arizona family-owned and small businesses," the narrator argues. "Massive tax increases. Lost jobs. Runaway inflation. Enough is enough. Tell Sen. Kelly to oppose the Biden tax-and-spend agenda."

The group says it will go up with additional ads as well as grassroots efforts to urge Democratic senators and representatives in other key states who will also likely face difficult reelections next year to oppose their party’s spending proposal, which includes an expansion of health and social programs as well as funding to combat climate change. The Democrats, who hold narrow House and Senate majorities, aim to pass the spending package along party lines using a parliamentary process known as reconciliation.  

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The America’s Job Creators for a Strong Recovery alliance, which was launched in May, is led by the National Association of Wholesalers Distributors, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and over 30 other business associations. It claims that the corporate tax hikes included in the spending proposals would damage an economy recovering from last year’s massive recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

"America’s job creators are just beginning to recover from a crippling pandemic and now some in Washington want to hammer them with record tax hikes to pay for trillions of dollars in new spending," National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors CEO Eric Hoplin told Fox News. "That is the last thing we should be doing and members of the House and Senate who are supporting this effort will be hearing back home from the family-owned and main street businesses in their states."

The Democrats’ measure would include nearly all key elements of the president’s American Families Plan, including the creation of a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, funding for free universal preschool for 3- and 4- year-olds and free community college for all students. And it expands the number and amounts of Pell Grants, extending the child tax credits that were included in the COVID relief package, and funding for numerous clean energy programs. The measure also includes expanding Medicare coverage for hearing, vision and dental.

To pay for their plan, Democrats are calling for tax hikes on corporations and the wealthiest earners, as well as beefing up the IRS in order to generate more revenue by cracking down on people who cheat or underpay on their taxes. If it becomes law, the measure would become the biggest expansion of the federal government’s social safety net in many decades. 

Progressive champion Sen. Bernie Sanders, who successfully steered the spending blueprint through the Senate, which resulted in a 50-49 party line vote earlier this month, touts that if the measure becomes law, it will "restore the faith of the American people in the belief that we can have a government that works for all of us, and not just the few."

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A key vote to advance the blueprint was delayed late Monday night until Tuesday afternoon, as Pelosi faced opposition from a small group of moderate Democrats.

If the measure survives in the House, it faces more hurdles ahead – as two of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have opposed the plan’s $3.5 trillion price tag. Sinema’s opposition puts more pressure on Kelly, her fellow Arizona Democrat in the Senate.

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