Centrist Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has made vague statements against using reconciliation to pass President Biden's "Build Back Better" infrastructure spending proposal, but yesterday he sent a very strong signal that he will support reconciliation if necessary.
Responding to the Senate GOP's opposition to passing anything that includes higher taxes, Manchin plainly asked how else Republicans would pay for it. Manchin also reiterated his position that we should roll back Trump's tax cuts.
While he didn't predict a price tag, Manchin said Congress should do "everything we possibly can" to pay for it. He said there should be "tax adjustments" to former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law to boost revenues, including by raising the corporate rate from the current 21 percent to at least 25 percent.
The tax benefits in the Republican law were "weighted in one direction to the upper end," Manchin said. He also suggested an "infrastructure bank" paid for with revenues, potentially a value-added tax, that would be used for "rebuilding America." [...]
Notably, Manchin said the Republican resistance to higher taxes was not a "reasonable" position in an infrastructure negotiation.
"Where do they think it's going to come from?" he asked. "How are you going to fix America?"
Indeed. Where else do they think it's going to come from?
Pondering the question myself, it occurred to me that Republicans have not called for a massive reorganization of government spending since former Speaker Paul Ryan left office. The GOP really doesn't do big things anymore; not even big bad things like the Ryan agenda which called for gutting the government while still coming up short on revenue. From the time that Paul Ryan first took control of the House Budget Committee in 2011 to the time he left office, his agenda guided their position on virtually everything.
To answer Manchin's question, Republicans believe we should pay for infrastructure by cutting other programs, but they no longer feel moved to even do that. They don't govern. They don't do policy. If they were still in control today, they wouldn't cut anything or build anything. They would do nothing. Trump's Republican party is a nihilist party.
Joe Manchin knows he can get whatever he wants for his constituents in West Virginia if he plays ball. Republicans could get whatever they want, too, if only they would agree to govern for once in their lives.
Manchin's clear acknowledgement that Trump's tax cuts primarily benefited people who were already rich is a populist sentiment that he easily can sell to his own constituents in West Virginia where most people are relatively poor compared to the rest of the nation.