WASHINGTON – In a private meeting in July, Senator Joe Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sat down to negotiate what exactly it would take for Democrats to unblock Manchin’s vote to begin the process of reviewing the President Joe Biden’s massive social and environmental bill.
What emerged was a one-page, unformatted document where the West Virginia Democrat set out his views. Both signed it, with reservations.
Almost five months later, much of what Manchin wanted has been delivered. But fellow Democrats appear a long way from securing the Conservative senator’s support for their broad national agenda. After being passed in the House, the bill is now stuck in the Senate.
Here’s a look at what Manchin wanted back then and where the legislation stands today.
Manchin wrote in the document that he wanted a dollar. $ 5,000 billion in revenue – far less than the $ 3.5 trillion offered by Biden.
Biden halved the amount to $ 1.75 trillion when it became clear Manchin could take it. The bill now stands at around $ 2 trillion.
Manchin wanted to start the debate on the legislation no earlier than October 1.
In a subsequent opinion piece, he suggested a “strategic break”.
This date has passed.
Manchin insisted on the corporate tax rate, which Biden proposed raising to 28%, not more than 25%. In fact, it ultimately didn’t come up at all, thanks to opposition from another recalcitrant Democrat, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Manchin also proposed a minimum corporate rate of 15%, as is now included in the bill.
He wanted the excess income to be used to pay down debt, but that idea was never adopted by Democrats.
The coal-mining state senator insisted on a “fuel-neutral” energy policy – essentially a policy that does not favor wind, solar and other renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas.
Manchin insisted on plans for a clean energy standard managed by the energy and natural resources committee, which he chairs.
After Manchin’s opposition, the White House scrapped plans for a national clean energy standard that conservationists saw as the most important tool to curb climate change.
The new incentives for renewable energy sources did not come with setbacks on coal, oil or natural gas.
Just this week, Manchin, as chairman of the panel on energy, withdrew a Democratic proposal to permanently ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Environmentalists strongly opposed his move, and several Democrats have said they will fight to reinstate the drilling ban, which gained new momentum following a catastrophic oil spill off the California coast this fall.
Despite Manchin’s criticism, Democrats remain on track to impose a levy on excessive methane emissions from oil and gas wells.
Much of Manchin’s public opposition to the size and scope of the program centers on his investment in historic social programs – child tax credits, a new federal paid family leave program, and childcare at lower cost.
His reasoning? Well, Manchin reiterated one sentence during these negotiations: “I don’t believe that we should turn our society into a society of rights.
The senator was adamant about “no additional documents,” as he wrote in his memo. He wants many of the “means tested” social service programs to apply only to people with lower income thresholds.
As a result, the new paid family and medical leave program that Democrats overwhelmingly want could be completely wiped out, dashing their hopes of removing the United States from the list of remaining countries without any form of paid national leave.
The most recent debate revolves around the extension of the child tax credit, passed earlier this year as part of pandemic relief legislation. The program, a cornerstone of Democratic efforts to reduce child poverty, sent up to $ 300 per child directly to families’ bank accounts each month. The expansion, studies show, is expected to reduce child poverty by 40%, of which 9 in 10 American children will benefit.
Without action from Congress, the program will expire and this month’s checks will be the last.
Manchin now says he wants the child tax credit program to be extended for the entire 10-year budget window, rather than just one year – a failure since the price would consume most of the money. Biden’s bill, crowding out other key initiatives on healthcare, childcare, education and more.
“We are not going to move all the programs over 10 years. That will not happen,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Associated Press on Friday.
Jayapal said Manchin agreed to a framework for the bill in October, which spelled out the plan’s priorities and costs but did not limit the duration of any of them. Manchin, she predicted, “will keep his pledge.”
Associated Press editors Alan Fram and Matthew Daly contributed.