Sen. Joe Manchin signaled Wednesday there might be hope for a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s social and climate package.
What You Need To Know
- Sen. Joe Manchin signaled Wednesday there might be hope for a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s social and climate package
- Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, sank the $1.9 trillion Build Back Better bill when he said in December he could not support it
- During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Biden touted many of the key proposals that were in the Build Back Better plan
- On Wednesday, Manchin outlined a plan that might allow Democrats, who are trying to cling to control of Congress this year, to salvage some pieces of Biden’s agenda
Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, sank the $1.9 trillion Build Back Better bill when he said in December he could not support it. With the Senate being split evenly and no Republicans backing the legislation, Manchin’s vote was critical.
Since then, Biden has continued to publicly call on Congress to pass the package — or at least some form of it — although Manchin said he and the White House have had no formal talks on the matter for months.
Manchin expressed concerns about the cost of the stalled bill, the possibility that it might worsen inflation, the targeted speed of the transition to clean energy and a larger child tax credit that did not include a work requirement.
During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Biden touted many of the key proposals that were in the Build Back Better plan, including limiting child care costs, lowering prescription drug costs, renewing the expanded child tax credit and offering environmentally minded tax incentives. He, however, never said the phrase “Build Back Better.”
On Wednesday, Manchin outlined a plan that might allow Democrats, who are trying to cling to control of Congress this year, to salvage some pieces of Biden’s agenda.
According to Bloomberg, Manchin is proposing partially rolling back the Trump-era tax cuts by raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. With the additional revenue, he says half would be spent on fighting inflation and reducing the deficit, while the rest would go toward social and climate programs. That would leave Democrats faced with some tough decisions about which programs to cut.
“If you want to talk, don't you think you should get your financial house in order," Manchin said. “If they're not serious about inflation and debt, then it would be hard for me to negotiate on anything."
Democrats have said the larger bill was mostly paid for, and Biden has repeatedly pointed to his proposals as ways to lower costs for families, helping them combat inflation.
Using the budget reconciliation process, Manchin's plan could be passed in the Senate without a single Republican vote if all Democrats support it.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., also a moderate, has opposed repealing the Trump-era tax cuts, but has said she’d support surtaxes and corporate minimum taxes.
Manchin’s offering drew mixed reactions among progressives.
“Mr. Manchin doesn't, last I heard, run the United States Senate. Our job is to bring forth the legislation that the American people want. Mr. Manchin can vote no," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who didn't rule out accepting a smaller package.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., indicated to Politico that she still hoped to change Manchin’s mind about the bigger spending bill.
“I would hope he would reconsider, and realize how many people are being left behind,” Lee said. “We’ve got to keep going and try to get everything that we can get.”
Others, however, seemed open to settling for a scaled-back bill.
“There’s so much that we all agree on that we ought to be able to get a deal,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Politico.
“We have to get done what we can,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., told Bloomberg.
The White House said Wednesday it is continuing to have conversations with Congress members “who are very much enthused and excited about what the President's plan is and lowering costs.”