Joe Manchin says both infrastructure bills should be paid for

0
18
Joe Manchin says both infrastructure bills should be paid for

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters Tuesday that both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a larger bill being crafted by congressional Democrats should be fully paid for, and that he doesn’t “think we need more debt.”

“We need to pay for it,” Manchin said, according to Politico. “I’d like to pay for all of it. I don’t think we need more debt.”

Manchin’s statement could help lower the cost of the Democrat-only bill, the drafting of which is being led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Democrats have said they will pass the measure through the parliamentary gambit of reconciliation, meaning the larger bill would only need 51 votes to pass the Senate.

However, with the Senate currently split 50-50, Democrats can’t afford to alienate any of their members. Manchin, a moderate who has balked at the level of proposed increases in corporate taxation by the Biden administration, told Fox News earlier this month that “I don’t think I can” support a reconciliation measure costing between $4 trillion and $6 trillion.

“That seems to me just totally out of the ballpark,” he said at the time.

Manchin declined to say Tuesday what price would be too much for him, telling Politico: “I’ve heard so many different numbers. In all honesty, in respect to the people doing the hard work, I say when I see the final product I can make an evaluation.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders is running point on the reconciliation bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is running point on the reconciliation bill.
Susan Walsh/AP

Meanwhile, members who support the smaller bipartisan plan are still working out exactly how that legislation will be paid for. Republicans rejected the idea of undoing the 2017 tax cuts enacted by former President Donald Trump, while Democrats refused to countenance a proposal linking gas taxes to inflation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said he hopes to bring the bipartisan bill to the floor next week, but Sen. John Thune (D-S.D.) said Tuesday that he views that possibility as unlikely.

“I don’t see any way possible that this is on the floor next week, because there’s too many things left to do and scores to get and the pay-fors to explain and vet,” Thune told CBS.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to grade the bipartisan bill, but Republicans who helped craft the measure have already warned it will underestimate how much revenue will be raised from certain mechanisms like bolstering enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pauses as he speaks to reporters before meeting with Democratic members of the Texas Legislature who are trying to kill a Republican bill in Austin that would make it harder to vote in the Lone Star State, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is hoping to bring the infrastructure bill to the floor next week.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

“I know there are some things that we’re relying on as pay-fors that will probably not receive a CBO score but nonetheless are real,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters.

Bloomberg reported that senators were to hold separate meetings later Tuesday to discuss both pieces of legislation.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday that the federal deficit for this fiscal year was $2.24 trillion, the second-biggest shortfall in history after the previous fiscal year.

Source link