West Virginia senator plays central role in Democrats’ debate on $3.5 trillion social-policy and climate package
For months, Mr. Manchin has criticized Democrats’ social-policy and climate bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag. But he provided the most complete account of his positions on Thursday, as the party struggles to bridge disagreements between its centrist and progressive wings over President Biden’s agenda.
In comments from reporters and a newly revealed document from the summer, Mr Manchin called for Democrats to cut their education, health care and climate packages by more than half to $1.5 trillion. He also laid out his terms for the climate portion of Mr. Biden’s agenda, which emphasized preserving fossil fuel subsidies and avoiding penalties for coal, gas and oil; That position equates to a break with progressives on the essence of the agenda other than the price tag.
Mr Manchin publicized the demands on Thursday when fellow Democrats complained he had stopped the advance of the $3.5 trillion bill in its tracks, refusing to say how it should be changed to win his support. Democrats are pushing the bill through a process called conciliation that would enable them to pass a 50-50 Senate with a simple majority.
Mr Manchin said on Thursday that they could support funding for child care and preschool, along with a modest tax increase, if they are targeted toward low-income Americans. Missing from his list were other parts of the offer, such as free community colleges. He said Democrats could revisit other elements of the bill in the future, if progressives were able to garner more power in the Senate in next year’s elections.
“We have only 50 votes,” he said. “Basically, take whatever we haven’t been able to settle with today and hit the campaign trail next year and I’m sure they’ll get many more liberal progressive Democrats with what they want,” Wealth. Manchin said.
In a July memo written by Manchin and signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Manchin said he wants his committee to have a special jurisdiction. The so-called clean energy standard is a fundamental part of Mr Biden’s climate agenda. Mr Manchin also questioned why the government would give the utility grant in a lump sum, suggesting that low-interest loans would be a better approach.
In the memo, Mr Manchin said he would support a 25% corporate tax rate, a 28% capital gains rate and an increase in the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect outstanding taxes. House Democrats have proposed raising the corporate rate from 21% to 26.5% and raising the top capital-gains rate to 28.8%, a draft 3% additional tax for those with incomes over $5 million. is preparing.
A spokesman for Mr Schumer said the leader signed the document, First reported by Politico, to accept the position of Mr. Manchin. “Sen. Manchin did not refuse to vote for a conciliation bill that exceeded the views he outlined, and Leader Schumer made clear that he would work to persuade Sen. Manchin to support a final reconciliation bill,” spokesman said.
On climate, Mr Manchin’s position builds on tensions with a $150 billion provision running through the House that would grant utilities that increase the amount of clean electricity generated by at least 4% each year, while giving utilities penalizes those who do not meet that standard.
In his memorandum, Mr. Manchin stated that he would like to preserve subsidies for fossil fuels if tax credits for solar and wind power are increased. Mr Manchin, whose home-state university has received government funding to develop hydrogen from fossil fuels such as natural gas, also said he wants tax credits for hydrogen-fueled vehicles in addition to electric vehicles.
Mr Manchin’s stance on climate provisions puts him at odds with other Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Cinemas, another centrist, who has called the legislative package too expensive. Ms Sinima has expressed support for climate proposals, which she said would directly affect her desert state, taking her position on the package near Banyan.
Mr Manchin’s statements also highlight his split with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I., VT), who on Thursday reiterated his support for climate legislation and a desire for an even bigger price tag.
“We face an existential threat in relation to climate change,” Sanders said. “Three-and-a-half trillion is really a conservative number given the crisis we face in the climate.”