Biden’s recurring Manchin problem

By Brittany Bernstein, National Review

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) told Democratic leaders “unequivocally” on Thursday that he will not support new spending on climate change or new tax increases for wealthy individuals and corporations in Democrats’ economic package, according to multiple new reports.

Manchin ended his negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after two months, according to CNN.

Democrats are hoping to pass a new economic package ahead of the midterms after Manchin, who often has outsized power in the evenly divided Senate where Democrats need the votes of all 50 Democrats to pass legislation, killed Biden’s Build Back Better bill in December.

A spokesperson for Manchin told the Washington Post that “political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1 percent.”

“Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire,” spokesman Sam Runyon said.

Manchin said earlier this week that he would be “cautious” about any new federal spending after the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 9.1 percent in June from one year earlier, the steepest increase recorded in nearly 41 years. The increase was higher than the 8.8 percent rise projected by economists.

Democrats had pared down their Build Back Better bill, hoping to win support from Manchin by cutting provisions that would have offered paid family and medical leave, and offered child care, free prekindergarten and tax benefits to low-income Americans.

They had hoped to find middle ground with Manchin on climate provisions, including offering tax credits to bolster clean energy, incentives for purchasing electric vehicles and limited penalties on producers of methane gas.

While Manchin opposes climate and tax provisions, he is reportedly open to supporting measures to give Medicare the ability to negotiate prescription drugs prices, as well as to add a two-year extension on subsidies to help keep health insurance costs down for some 13 million Americans, according to the Washington Post.

He also told a group of business executives earlier this week that he is looking at achieving $200 billion in deficit reduction through the economic package, according to the Washington Post, though it was not immediately clear how.

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