Written by LISA MASCARO and NADEZHDA YEN
WASHINGTON (AP) – Key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin appears to support White House proposals for new taxes on billionaires and certain corporations to help pay for President Joe Biden’s cut social services and a climate change package.
On Monday, Biden said he was “very positive” about reaching agreement on his big domestic policy bill, aiming to win votes in Congress this week – though that’s far from certain.
“I hope so,” the president said before leaving his home state of Delaware for New Jersey to highlight the package’s childcare offerings and his infrastructure development efforts.
Democrats are working hard to try again to conclude negotiations by cutting back what was a $ 3.5 trillion ambitious plan so that the president can highlight his administration’s accomplishments to world leaders at two overseas summits on economics and climate change starting later. week.
Biden met with conservative West Virginia Democrat Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the Delaware President’s home on Sunday as they work to resolve disputes between centrists and progressives that are holding back the Democrats’ large-scale bill. The man who insisted on anonymity when discussing Manchin’s position told The Associated Press that the senator agrees with the White House’s new approach to tax proposals.
He is now being watched for at least $ 1.75 trillion. According to a second person who insisted on anonymity when discussing private conversations, this range could still be significantly higher.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that even with “half” of the initial $ 3.5 trillion proposed, Biden’s signature domestic initiative would be larger than any other legislative package with large investments in health, childcare and climate change strategies.
“This is less than originally thought, but still more than anything we have ever done in terms of meeting the needs of American working families,” Pelosi said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Biden met with Manchin and Schumer, DN.Y., at the president’s Wilmington home after Democrats missed a dispute resolution deadline last week. Biden said he would like to receive the $ 2 trillion package, and they are again trying to reach an agreement in the coming week.
Addressing the income issue is key, as Democrats insist that new spending will be paid entirely from various taxes.
Manchin and another Democrat, Senator Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, almost independently stopped the advancement of Biden’s proposal. With a Republican opposition and an evenly split 50-50 Senate, Biden has no extra votes, and two Democratic senators have pushed for a reduction in the size of the huge package and pushed for other changes.
One of the key discussions took place over the proceeds to pay for the package after Sinema rejected a previous plan to end the Republican tax cuts in 2017 and raise rates for corporations making more than $ 5 million a year and wealthy Americans making over $ 400,000. or $ 450,000 for couples.
Instead, the White House is considering a tax on the investment income of billionaires – fewer than the richest 1,000 Americans with at least $ 1 billion in assets. He also introduced a minimum corporate tax of 15% to ensure that all companies pay what Biden calls their “fair share” – ending the practice of some high-profile firms not paying taxes.
It is unclear what level of new taxes Manchin will support, but overall he supports the White House proposals, according to a man who insisted on anonymity when discussing Manchin’s stance. No person insisting on anonymity was authorized to discuss negotiations by name.
The White House said the breakfast meeting was a “productive debate” on the president’s agenda. The talks appeared to have lasted several hours, but no decisions were announced. A White House statement after the meeting said the Democrats “continued to make progress.”
The Democrats originally planned that Biden’s package would include spending and tax initiatives worth $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years. But demands from moderates led by Manchin and Sinema to contain costs mean its final price may well be less than $ 2 trillion.
Controversy continues over far-reaching investments, including plans to expand Medicare coverage to include dental, ophthalmic and hearing aids for the elderly; assistance in caring for a child; and free preschool.
Pelosi, Calif., Told CNN that Democrats are still working to maintain provisions for four weeks of paid family leave, but acknowledged that other proposals, such as extending Medicare to include dental coverage, may prove harder to save money. for the cost.
Pelosi reiterated that about 90% is complete and said she expects an agreement by the end of the week, paving the way for a House vote on a separate $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before next Sunday, Oct.31, when a number of transportation programs will end. … … In the summer, the Senate approved a package of projects for roads, broadband and other public works, but the measure stalled in the House of Representatives during deliberations on Biden’s broader bill.
Manchin, whose state has a large coal industry, opposed Biden’s initial proposals for climate change, which included a plan to punish utilities that don’t switch quickly to clean energy. Democrats are also currently devising other climate change strategies to meet Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
Democrats had hoped that Biden would be able to mention the major accomplishments when he attended a global conference in Scotland on climate change in early November after attending a summit of world leaders in Rome.
Senator Angus King, an independent Maine senator who faction with Democrats, said the expected cut in clean energy provisions in the spending bill was particularly disappointing.
“If we’re going to get the rest of the world to take serious steps to address this problem, we must do it ourselves,” King said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Democrats also want to make progress that could help Democrat Terry McAuliffe win the November 2 Virginia gubernatorial election.
Associated Press authors Alan Fram and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.