- Sen. Joe Manchin told Chuck Schumer in July he wanted a $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion social-spending topline, a document shows.
- Other proposals include means testing for new spending and a 25% corporate tax rate.
- Even though Schumer signed the document, his spokesperson told Politico he never agreed to it.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
As Democrats are working to get their $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion social-spending bill signed into law, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has been clear he thinks his party’s proposal is too expensive. A document just came to light confirming that he felt that way in July – and he still feels that way now.
On Thursday, Politico first published a document, which a Senate Democratic aide later confirmed to Insider, that revealed Manchin had outlined his proposals for what Democrats’ reconciliation bill should look like to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July.
In the document, Manchin proposed $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion in spending as a topline for the bill, and proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 25%, the capital gains tax rate to 28%, and he wanted means testing – or threshold formulas – for any new spending.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Manchin said, “I believe in my heart” that $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion is the most US can afford to spend right now and that it shouldn’t change into “an entitlement-based society.”
The July document said that Manchin “does not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation if it exceeds the conditions outlined in this agreement.”
And while both Manchin and Schumer signed the document, Schumer wrote that he will “try to change Joe on some of these,” referring to what Manchin had proposed. A spokesperson for Schumer told Politico that Schumer “never agreed to any of the conditions Sen. Manchin laid out; he merely acknowledged where Sen. Manchin was on the subject at the time.”
Earlier this month, Manchin suggested Democrats should “hit the pause button” on their reconciliation bill, writing in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that “I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion,” citing inflation concerns.
Given progressive lawmakers’ firm stance they will not cut down their $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion proposal, Manchin’s outline is unlikely to gain support from most of his Democratic colleagues. Leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal has made clear that progressives want to see their reconciliation bill passed before infrastructure to ensure the measures they are proposing, like universal pre-K and free community college, are not skimped on.
-Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) September 29, 2021
And progressives have also struck down Manchin’s request that all new spending should have thresholds, especially with the child tax credit. Manchin previously suggested that people should be required to work to access the child benefit, which Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed back on, telling reporters that his “personal view is that would be counterproductive to the children who need help the most.”
The House is scheduled to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday, but given progressive opposition, it’s unlikely to pass. As for the reconciliation bill, Manchin has made clear he will not support it as is, and he still believes in a “strategic pause” to ensure the best economic decision is made.
“While I am hopeful that common ground can be found that would result in another historic investment in our nation, I cannot – and will not – support trillions in spending or an all or nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces,” Manchin wrote in a Wednesday statement. “There is a better way and I believe we can find it if we are willing to continue to negotiate in good faith.”