Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., proposed a deal to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., this summer that limited the total cost of the Democrats' sweeping spending bill to $1.5 trillion, Politico reported Thursday.
Manchin has been vilified by progressives for refusing to sign onto President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending legislation, which many experts say will cost much more than that.
Politico reported that Manchin laid out his demands in late July with a document — entitled "Agreement to Start Budget Resolution" — that was signed by both him and Schumer.
The agreement included a line saying that debate on the reconciliation bill would begin no earlier than Oct. 1.
The document ends with the following bolded line: "Senator Manchin does not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation if it exceeds the conditions outlined in this agreement."
Schumer appears to have written a note on the bottom of the document saying that he "will try to change Joe on some of these."
Manchin has been distributing the document to Democratic colleagues and leaders in recent days to underscore that he outlined his demands on Biden’s massive spending plan, Politico said.
The one-page agreement was dated July 28, right before the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill that Manchin helped write, and ahead of Senate passage of a budget setting up the spending bill, Politico reported.
Among the items stipulated in the agreement:
- Funds in the new legislation cannot be distributed until all funding from COVID-19 relief legislation has been spent.
- Any revenue exceeding $1.5 trillion shall be used for deficit reduction.
- A corporate tax rate of 25%.
- Raise the top tax rate on ordinary income to 39.6%.
- Raise the capital gains rate to 28%.
Manchin, who often has said the deficit is a major concern, also asked for the Federal Reserve to taper its quantitative easing program in the interest of relieving inflation concerns.
"Leader Schumer never agreed to any of the conditions Sen. Manchin laid out; he merely acknowledged where Sen. Manchin was on the subject at the time," a Schumer spokesperson told Politico.
"Sen. Manchin did not rule out voting for a reconciliation bill that exceeded the ideas he outlined, and Leader Schumer made clear that he would work to convince Sen. Manchin to support a final reconciliation bill — as he has doing been for weeks."
The White House and other Democrats largely have dismissed Manchin's proposal thus far, though the senator has met with Biden several times since signing the document and has been talking to the White House frequently this week.
Democrats need Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., another moderate opposed to the current spending bill, to pass the legislation in a Senate divided evenly along party lines.
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