Congress

GOP Signals No Compromise Ahead of Meeting For Compromise

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It's virtually certain that congressional Democrats will use the budget reconciliation process to pass all or some parts of President Biden's infrastructure spending proposals, but both sides are still pretending that a bipartisan agreement of some description is possible.

With that said, the time for pretending may be coming to an end. A bipartisan group of lawmakers are meeting at the White House to discuss the matter today and statements from both sides make it pretty clear where things stand.

Ahead of their meeting aimed at finding areas of agreement, Republicans have indicated that there are no areas of agreement.

McConnell has other ideas: He said he will bring up his concerns over inflation and unemployment in the meeting and urge Biden to “remember that he promised to govern for all Americans not the far left.” He said the slim Democratic majorities “are not exactly a sweeping mandate for a socialist agenda.” [...]

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP leader, said the party’s “red line” is raising corporate taxes or touching the party’s 2017 tax bill. He’ll be among the Senate Republican committee leaders meeting with Biden on Thursday.

Republicans would like the public to think their opposition to investing in our own economy is based on opposition to raising taxes and nothing else, but Mitch McConnell's words make it clear that they wouldn't support anything even if taxes stay where they are.

That's not necessarily a guess or merely an assumption. Trump called on Republicans in Congress to pass an infrastructure bill -- remember Infrastructure Week? -- without raising taxes and they couldn't be moved to even do that. We have recent examples of the Republican party doing virtually nothing even when they have the power to do something. They don't do policy. Their tax cuts were their end game and the only game they have. That's why it's "red line."

In related, positive news -- support from centrist Senator Joe Manchin will be required to use budget reconciliation and he has just formally signed on for one of the pay-fors included in Biden's proposal.

Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Sherrod Brown of Ohio joined with West Virginia’s Manchin to introduce legislation that would end the carried interest tax breaks used by private equity money managers and others to lower their tax bills. [...]

The bill would require that carried interest profits -- which under current law can be taxed as low as 20% -- be subject to the same tax rates as other income. Under Biden’s proposal, the top income tax rate would climb to 39.6% from the current 37%.

Manchin has long been a proponent of killing carried-interest preferences, and his involvement in the bill signals that Democrats are united on at least some of Biden’s proposals to boost taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Even if Democrats had larger majorities, McConnell would still say Democrats have no mandate to do anything.