Manchin: Reduced bill should focus on inflation and debt reduction

Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), who late last year nearly killed the Biden administration’s Build Back Better legislation, said Tuesday that any new Democratic budget reconciliation bill should be focused on fighting inflation and reducing the deficit.

Manchin laid out his vision for what a scaled-down bill should include to a small group of reporters after a meeting he said focused on inflation with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN. Y.).

“For me, reconciliation is about getting inflation under control, paying off that debt, getting control over what’s going on,” Manchin said.

Manchin said the way to do that was through changes to the tax code. He outlined on Tuesday some of what he could support on tax changes as part of a reconciliation bill, including raising the corporate tax rate to 25%, fixing earnings in capital at 28%, the elimination of “loopholes” and “ensuring that everyone pays their fair price”. share.”

Democrats see the next month before Memorial Day as a key time to try to reinvigorate reconciliation, a budget process that would allow them to push through the Senate a sweeping political bill that could not be blocked by a filibuster from the GOP.

They would need Manchin and all the other Democrats to accept the bill.

Manchin, as he has previously indicated, also wants half of all revenue to be spent on deficit reduction, saying it’s “the only way to fight inflation.”

“Just a fair and competitive tax code,” Manchin added of what he wants to see in a reconciliation bill.

Spokespersons for Schumer did not immediately respond to a question about the meeting, although Manchin indicated the Democratic leader was open to his ideas.

Manchin said he was not speaking with the White House and stressed there were no “official” negotiations underway to bring back a reconciliation bill.

“There is nothing formal. There are no false hopes here. There is nothing. As for Build Back Better, we don’t talk about it. I’m just saying, how do you control inflation? said Manchin.

Some Democrats have set Memorial Day as a key timeline for reaching a deal, but Manchin declined to commit to a specific timeline on Tuesday.

The rough sketch of what a bill should focus on is significantly different and narrower than the roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation passed by the House that Manchin killed late last year. when he said he couldn’t support her.

This bill was a sweeping tax and spending bill that also included changes to climate and energy policy as well as broad social and health care programs.

Manchin, however, on Tuesday rejected the inclusion of programs such as paid leave, saying any social policy changes must go through the Senate committee process.

“I said no. Social programs go through the committee. We’re not talking about going back that way,” Manchin said.

It could be a tough red line for many of his fellow Senate Democrats who see reconciliation as their best chance to achieve long-standing political goals, including expanding Medicare, strengthening ObamaCare, creating a paid vacation program and the expansion of a strengthened program. child tax credit.

Reviving reconciliation would be a heavyweight for Democrats. Manchin’s support for raising the minimum corporate tax rate to 25% prompts a pushback from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona).

Manchin’s vision for a plan focused on lowering taxes and the deficit also comes from the fact that he and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) created a separate group aimed at reaching an agreement on energy legislation. and climate change which could get 60 votes instead of the only Democratic Path of Reconciliation. This group met on Monday evening.

“He knows on the energy that I’m working with a group that’s trying to find a bipartisan path that we want to move forward,” Manchin said, referring to Schumer.

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