Senator Joe Manchin threatened in an interview to hold up President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill in oder to force changes that would water down his proposed corporate tax hike.
‘As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,’ said Manchin, who has become a gatekeeper in the 50-50 Senate as among the most conservative members in the Democratic caucus.
Manchin, who holds the seat once held by Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd hails from a relatively poor state that has benefitted from federal government spending projects over the years, did not say he opposed the infrastructure package. But he did threaten to use his political weight to try to refashion it.
‘If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere,’ he said, in a possible reference to move to proceed to the bill under special instructions that would allow it to move with a simple majority vote.
With Republicans lining up against the bill, Democratic leaders are looking to potentially move the package under an additional budget reconciliation bill. But even that would require them to have all of their members in line – giving leverage to Manchin or any other Democratic senator with misgivings.
‘It’s more than just me, Hoppy,’ he told interviewer Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia’s Metro News, the National Review reported.
‘There’s six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this. We have to be competitive, and we’re not going to throw caution to the wind,’ he said.
Biden wants to raise the corporate rate from its current 21 per cent up to 28 per cent. It dropped from 35 per cent in the 2017 tax cut law signed by President Donald Trump.
Manchin did not come out against any increase in the corporate tax rate, and suggested he could potentially support a 25 per cent rate, which would still be an increase of four percentage points over the current level.
Manchin’s swipe comes after Republicans hammered the Biden plan for its tax hikes, and a small group of House Democrats threatened to withhold support if the plan does not also raise the $10,000 cap for state and local deductions.
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The White House continued to defend the hike, which it has made a centerpiece of its revenue side, on Monday, even as it said it was early in the process and lawmakers were welcome to offer their own ideas. The tax increases over a period of 15 years would pay for eight years of spending.
‘Our view is that corporations can pay more, not that it should be on the backs of consumers and the American people through user fees, which is exactly what it would be,’ said White House press secretary Jen Psaki when asked about GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s call to fund infrastructure through user fees.
She said the tax rate the administration was proposing was ‘lower than it was from World War II to 2017.’
Biden defended the tax hike at the White House earlier Monday.
Asked if he was concerns higher taxes might drive away corporations, he said: “Not at all, adding, ‘There’s no evidence of that.’
‘You’re talking about companies in the Fortune 500 that haven’t paid a single penny in tax for 3 years. Come on, man,’ he said.
Then he plugged the $2.3 trillion package, which Republicans have slammed for going beyond roads and bridges.
‘It’s kind of interesting. When the Republicans put forward an infrastructure plan, they thought everything from broadband to other things were worth paying for infrastructure,’ Biden said.
‘When you’re in a situation where you can’t turn on a water fountain in school because the water affects your health, that’s infrastructure. I’m talking about making sure we take asbestos out of schools, that’s infrastructure. I’m talking about building high speed rail, that’s infrastructure. I’m talking about making sure we are in a situation where we can redo federal buildings that are absolutely leaking energy every single day, that’s infrastructure, in addition to roads and bridges and broadband.’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed last week to fight Biden’s plan ‘every step of the way.’
Source: Thanks msn.com