- Manchin suggested he may thwart Democratic attempts to bypass Republicans in Congress more than once.
- “I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” Manchin wrote in a Post op-ed.
- It comes as the White House weighs the path ahead for a massive infrastructure plan.
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Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia suggested he could derail Democratic attempts to circumvent Republicans more than once this year, arguing that embarking on the path would be harmful to the nation’s future.
“We should all be alarmed at how the budget reconciliation process is being used by both parties to stifle debate around the major issues facing our country today,” the influential Democrat said in a Washington Post op-ed published on Wednesday evening.
Manchin said that drafting bills was “never supposed to be easy,” adding it was important to address the needs of both rural areas and urban communities in the months ahead.
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” Manchin wrote. “How is that good for the future of this nation?”
Manchin was referring to a tactic Democrats employed earlier this year to approve a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without any GOP votes. It comes after a top Senate official delivered a ruling on Monday that may provide Democrats an opening to bypass Republicans at least twice more this year.
Reconciliation is governed with a strict set of rules aimed at ensuring measures are closely related to the federal budget. Using it allows Democrats to pass bills with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate and avoid the usual 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster.
Manchin reiterated his longstanding opposition to ending or significantly weakening the filibuster.
The White House is starting to sell its $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes major funding for roads and bridges, broadband, and in-home elder care among other measures.
The Biden administration outlined a corporate tax plan on Wednesday. It includes a corporate tax increase from 21% to 28%, a step amounting to a partial repeal of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts. Republicans are staunchly opposed to the business tax hikes.
That proposed tax increase recently triggered opposition from Manchin, who said last week he favored a 25% corporate rate instead. The opposition of a single Democratic senator could block the entire package from clearing the upper chamber.
The dynamic makes Manchin a powerful figure in the Senate. Last month, he forced last-minute changes to unemployment provisions of the stimulus law, delaying votes for almost 11 hours.
Biden said on Wednesday he was open to compromise on a lower rate, though he stressed the need to pay for the plan. “I’m wide open, but we got to pay for this. I am willing to negotiate that,” he said.