The most powerful Democrat in the Senate does not particularly appear all that exceptional, just a regular run-of-the-mill senator. But he is the 50th vote that will mean that the Democrats can pass legislation, or not. The conservative senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin (D-WV) is that man, and he has some very specific ideas.
One of the most fraught ideas is that he wants to retain the filibuster. He says it is the mechanism that allows the minority to have some power. It is hard to swallow that when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wields the filibuster like a guided missile to grind that nation’s government to a halt.
President Joe Biden has two big bills he wants to move into law before his first 100 days are up. He and the Democrats already passed the COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Now, President Biden is off to his second major bill, the even more expensive infrastructure bill. This is the second reconciliation bill the Democrats will pass, and that is the end of their 50-vote exceptions, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. After that, Democrats will need to have 60 votes to pass any legislation. McConnell is determined to keep his Republicans in total lockstep against all Democratic legislation.
So how does Senator Machin feel about that multiple-trillion-dollar infrastructure boost. The law would be similar to the WPA program implemented during the Great Recession. This package would not only jump-start the economy, it would go far toward bringing back the middle class after the Republicans intentionally sucked all of the money out of it.
Manchin actually, favors it. His idea is that he wants to pay for at least part of it by increasing tax revenues. The Republicans are not happy about taxes. Under Donald Trump, the nation lost untold dollars when he sliced taxes on corporations and the wealthiest people in the country.
The infrastructure price tag is three trillion dollars, and Manchin agreed to the idea, The New York Times reported:
‘I’m sure of one thing: It’s going to be enormous.’
Manchin wants Congress to do “everything we possibly can” to pay for it. He wants “tax adjustments” to Trump’s 2017 tax law, moving the corporate from a ridiculously low 21 percent to a minimum of 25 percent.
He said this about the tax law benefits, according to CNN:
‘[They are] weighted in one direction to the upper end.’
The senator had an interesting idea about an “infrastructure bank.” The credits would come from something like a value-added tax used for “rebuilding America:”
‘I’m not afraid to look at other things.’
Manchin pointed to the Republicans’ resistance, saying it was not a “reasonable” position for negotiating the infrastructure program:
‘Where do they think it’s going to come from? How are you going to fix America?’
Moderate Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has doubts:
‘I would not anticipate that it would be well received.’
McConnell huffed against the job-generating legislation:
‘The Trojan horse will be called infrastructure. Inside the Trojan horse will be all the tax increases. The only way I think they could pull that off would be through a reconciliation process.’
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