Sen. Manchin Open to Billionaires Tax to Fund Domestic Spending Bill

By:
Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Oct 25, 2021

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a pivotal vote in the Senate, appears to be open to a tax on billionaires’ assets to fund the Democrats’ reconciliation domestic spending bill, the Associated Press reported. This tax would replace the originally proposed increase in the corporate tax from 21 to 28 percent.  Sen Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), another crucial Senate vote, has signaled her opposition to the corporate tax hike. 

Democrats originally proposed the reconciliation bill as a $3.5 trillion plan to fund vast new investments in education, health, child care, paid leave and climate programs. It is now being considered as a $1.75 trillion package.

According to the AP, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that even at “half” the original $3.5 trillion proposed, Biden’s signature domestic initiative would be larger than any other legislative package with big investments in health care, child care and strategies to tackle climate change.

The billionaires tax would be based on a proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee,  the New York Times reported, It would raise hundreds of billions of dollars with a wealth tax on just 600 to 700 people—America’s billionaires. Previously, the concept of a wealth tax gained support primarily among the most liberal members of the Senate, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

Manchin met on Sunday with President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an effort to break a months-long impasse over the bill. 

Biden said on Monday that he felt “very positive” about reaching agreement on his big domestic policy bill, aiming for votes in Congress as soon as this week—but that is far from certain. 

The Times reported that Biden and top Democrats hope to reach an accord with key centrist holdouts before Biden leaves Thursday for Rome, ahead of a Group of 20 economic summit. The president then plans to travel to a United Nations climate conference in Glasgow that begins on Sunday, where he plans to push for a stronger international response to counter global warming and climate change.  

“Having it finished with all the ‘t’s’ and ‘i’s’ and everything crossed and dotted will be difficult from the Senate side because we have an awful lot of text to go through,” Manchin said, according to Bloomberg. “But as far as conceptually, we should. I think a framework should be [agreed on this week.]"

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