Manchin Dangles Compromises For Spending Plans

Written by SK Ashby

Will centrist senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema vote for a large reconciliation bill that increases taxes and social spending?

I still believe they will at the end of the day, but the path to eventual passage of a bill won't be entirely straight and it may not happen as quickly as we'd like to see.

For his part, Manchin toured the political talk show circuit over the weekend and said he cannot support the proposal as its currently constructed because it raises taxes by too much.

“I cannot support $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said, citing in particular his opposition to a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and vast new social spending.

“We should be looking at everything, and we’re not. We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting, or someone’s going to fall through the cracks,” he said.

Pressed repeatedly about a total he could support, Manchin said, “It’s going to be $1, $1.5 (trillion).” He later suggested the range was based on a modest rise in the corporate tax rate to 25%, a figure he believes will keep the U.S. globally competitive.

The good news for Joe Manchin and anyone who would like to see this eventually pass is House Democrats have already agreed to increase the corporate tax rate to 26 percent rather than the 28 percent level he opposes. His primary objection has already been addressed and it's likely it will be reduced again to meet his demand of 25 percent. And that's fine.

It's also likely that the final bill will not total $3.5 trillion, but it doesn't have to. The budget resolution that enables the use of the reconciliation process sets a top-line level of spending, not a bottom-line, and additional spending could always be passed another time or attached to some other bill prior to or even after the midterm election cycle.

If we could all have everything we wanted, the final reconciliation bill would be far bigger than $3.5 trillion, but it will still be worth passing regardless of what the total ends up being.

Starting from an ambitious position means even a compromise will be significant enough to be one of the largest expansions of social spending in history.