Senator Joe Manchin said he resurrected negotiations on a tax, energy and climate bill that had formed the core of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, in part, to target corporations that aren’t paying taxes.
Manchin, a key Democratic vote in the evenly divided Senate, restarted talks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just days after walking away earlier this month after inflation hit 9.1%. Notably, the West Virginia senator kept Biden at bay for fear of leaving the president politically exposed.
“I was not going to bring the president in,” Manchin told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval. “I did not think it was fair to bring him in,” adding that the deal “could have gone sideways.”
Manchin said he ordered his staff to study ways to “scrub the bill down” so that no aspects would worsen inflation. His staff, he said, ultimately wrote the bill in coordination with Schumer aides.
A minimum corporate tax rate wouldn’t spark higher consumer prices, Manchin said, and also would make the tax code more fair.
“Tell me why a corporation that’s $1 billion in book value — that means the largest corporations in America — aren’t paying a minimum 15% taxes,” Manchin said.
Manchin also defended another key tax change in the deal announced late Wednesday: raising $14 billion from taxing carried interest, or profits made by some investment managers, at a higher rate.
Manchin’s comments come the day after he and Schumer unveiled their plan to generate an estimated $739 billion in revenue, spend $433 billion and reduce deficits by $300 billion over a decade. That’s still much smaller than Biden’s original economic plan but still amounts to a major victory for Democrats and the White House ahead of the midterm elections.
Manchin said he would never have signed off on the accord with Schumer without a side agreement with the administration to overhaul permitting processes for domestic energy producers.
“Without permitting reforms, without the ability of America to do what it does best — produce — there is no bill,” Manchin said. “And that is totally agreed upon and understood.”