Biden hosts Manchin as the president works to reach a deal on his fiscal spending package. Biden hosted Sen. Joe Manchin in Delaware on Sunday, as per the folks familiar with the meeting, as the two worked to cement a deal on Biden’s domestic agenda.
In Delaware, where Biden is spending the weekend, the president met with the West Virginia moderate. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, was also in attendance. The meeting comes at a critical time for Biden, who is attempting to reach a deal on his social spending plan with Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) within the next week.
Democrats feel that while a top-line agreement is unlikely to emerge from Sunday’s meeting given the deal of work remaining, the process is flowing swiftly enough that House leaders may now schedule a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as Wednesday, according to several sources. That measure has been stalled in the House, where progressives are pressing Manchin and Sinema to agree to the remainder of Biden’s agenda.
Biden hosts Manchin—an inflection in Biden’s agenda?
Whereas Democrats are hoping that the president and the two senators can hammer out a framework for a bill addressing climate change, child care, health care, and education, their things are somewhat divergent. Manchin is sticking to his $1.5 trillion figure, while the White House and Democratic leaders are looking for as much as $2 trillion, up from an early target of $3.5 trillion. Both sides may need to demonstrate some flexibility as the deadline approaches. If Manchin comes up with a larger figure, it may rescue a program or two from being eliminated from the package.
The legislation’s downsizing stands to undermine two long-held Democratic priorities: paid leave and expanded Medicare coverage for dental, vision, and hearing care. Neither Biden nor progressive senators have agreed to eliminate those, though it may become imperative to secure Manchin’s backing and a swift deal.
Democrats are also negotiating a pact that offers relief from state and local taxes, or SALT, for residents of high-cost states. The most likely scenario is to postpone a cap on those deductions for two years.
Biden hosts Manchin as the Democrats seek to appease moderates.
When asked Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union whether the paid leave would be included in the final package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, “That is our hope, that is our battle.” When asked about Medicare expansion, Pelosi responded, “that is part of the negotiation,” but added, “dental is expensive.” Democrats, on the other hand, maybe able to expand Medicare to include vision and hearing treatment due to their lower costs.
“Dental will require some additional time to implement,” Pelosi stated. “Knowledgeable individuals have told us that it will take five to six years to implement the dentistry. So, shall we say, how do we fill in the blank there?”
Biden openly mentioned Manchin and Sinema’s opposition to the Medicare expansion, as well as Sinema’s opposition to boosting corporate and high-income person tax rates, during a town hall last week.
“Joe is not a bad guy. That is, he is a friend. And he’s always come around and voted for it at the end of the day,” Biden remarked.
Along with accommodating Manchin’s fiscal concerns and resistance to a carbon tax and Clean Energy Performance Program, Democrats collaborate with Sinema on tax measures that would impose a minimum tax on corporations and target billionaires’ assets.
Democrats are oozing with optimism as Biden hosts Manchin.
Pelosi hinted on CNN Sunday that the Senate could unveil new funding options as early as Monday.
They do have enforcement, overseas tax harmonization, and a host of other things. Pelosi stated that on their side, they had been wholly prepared with alternative arrangements for the House, Senate, and White House. They have a lot of options, she said.
They are still negotiating over the bill’s price tag, revenue projections, and overall policies, so it’s difficult to see Democrats supporting it this month. However, party leaders hope that if they reach a deal, it will provide progressives with excellent specificity to convince them to vote for the $550 billion infrastructure bill before the Highway Trust Fund runs out at the end of the month — and before Virginia’s gubernatorial election two days later.
While Democrats exuded hope about their discussions with Manchin this week, some continue to cast doubt on Sinema’s persuasion and criticize her for lacking transparency. She has indicated that she has submitted specific proposals to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace that Senator Manchin has always been candid – that you always know where he stands. They disagree in some aspects, but he appreciates it. Rep. Ro Khanna’s question with Senator Sinema is why she is exempted from the standards. Why is it that she does not appear on shows like “Fox News Sunday”; why is it that she does not explain herself?