An unexpected US Democratic senator who has been a political thorn in the side of the White House revealed support for President Joe Biden’s top agenda item.Joe Manchin asserts that he has changed his mind and is now in favour of legislation that will raise corporate taxes, address climate change, and lower healthcare costs.
The West Virginian had previously voiced opposition to the plan, expressing concern that rising expenditure may worsen inflation. Mr. Biden would have achieved a big legislative victory if the bill were to pass.
In addition to helping him advance his domestic agenda, doing so may provide his fellow Democrats—who are battling to retain control of Congress as the November midterm elections get near—a much-needed political lift. If passed, the bill, according to the president, would be historic.
It’s unclear what caused the senator Joe Manchin to suddenly decide to support the new bill
He is a political anomaly because he represents a conservative state that gave Donald Trump a strong electoral advantage.
The 74-year-Covid old’s test result was positive earlier this week. He tweeted that he was having slight symptoms despite being properly immunised.
In a statement issued in tandem with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday night, Mr. Manchin gave few details behind his shift in stance on the plan, which:
is reportedly far more modest than the $3.5 trillion (£2.9 trillion) plan Democrats first proposed.
might perhaps assist the US in reducing its carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030.
would allocate $369 billion to combating the effects of pollution on low-income neighbourhoods and implementing climate initiatives, including as tax credits for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.
According to Mr. Schumer, this legislation “will be by far the biggest pro-climate legislation that has ever been voted by Congress.”
According to Mr. Manchin and Mr. Schumer, the proposal would raise $739 billion (£608 billion) over the course of ten years by raising the corporate minimum tax on large corporations to 15%, enhancing Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement, and enabling the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.
President Biden needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators in addition to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote to get the bill past the Senate and bring it to the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a slim majority.
The measure would formalize many of the president’s key policy goals and offer to resuscitate the domestic economic agenda, which has recently stalled as a result of broken discussions. If passed, it would be a big success for the president.
The bill is still far short of what the White House had hoped to accomplish with its original $1.9 trillion Build Back Better agenda, an ambitious plan to completely rewrite the US’s tax, health, and education laws.
The earlier strategy, which has been stuck in the Senate for months with an uncertain future, is now “dead,” according to Mr. Manchin on Wednesday.
The senator had angered the White House just a few days earlier by insisting that he could only support the portions of the plan that dealt with healthcare subsidies and drug prices.
Mr. Manchin said, “I have carefully sought input from all sides,” on Wednesday night.
He had previously expressed worry that policies encouraging the production of clean energy without equally expanding the output of fossil fuels could harm the US by increasing its reliance on imports.
Tens of thousands of people are employed by oil and gas businesses in West Virginia, and Mr. Manchin has collected $875,000 (£718,000) in political contributions over the last five years from the sector.
Mr. Schumer hopes to pass the law with 51 votes by utilising a financial manoeuvre that would let him to circumvent the requirement that 60 out of 100 senators support the package. If every Democrat in the chamber votes in favour of the measure, it will pass with an even vote.
The Senate would review the plan, according to Mr. Schumer, the following week. The House of Representatives could perhaps take it up later in August.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a moderate Democrat who has repeatedly thwarted President Biden’s agenda, might yet upset the plan, though.
On Wednesday night, when she learned of the plan, she opted not to comment. According to US media, Ms. Sinema stated in April that she “remains opposed to hiking the corporate minimum tax rate” to business leaders in Arizona.
Republicans criticised Mr. Manchin, a possible member they had previously courted. “I can’t believe that Senator Manchin is approving a large tax hike in the name of climate change while our economy is in a recession,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
Mr. Biden pledged the US would provide $11.4 billion (£9.35 billion) a year in climate finance by 2024 to assist developing nations in addressing and preparing for climate change ahead of the Glasgow climate conference last year.
But in March, he was only able to get $1 billion of that from Congress, which is only a third more than what was spent under President Trump.