Senator Joe Manchin discussed the $433 billion tax, climate and health-care plan he’s backing with potential holdout Senator Kyrsten Sinema but gave no indication he won any commitment of her support.
“We had a nice talk,” Manchin told reporters after he and the Arizona Democrat spoke for about 10 minutes on the Senate floor Tuesday. “She will make her decision based on the facts. We’re exchanging texts.”
Sinema hasn’t revealed whether she’ll support the bill, which would raise an estimated $739 billion in revenue by imposing a 15% minimum tax on large corporations, beefing up tax audits and forcing drug companies to offer Medicare lower prices for prescription drugs. Sinema has previously supported these elements, people familiar with her thinking have said.
The bill would also narrow the carried-interest tax provision, which allows hedge fund managers to pay a far lower tax rate on their earnings than the 37% top individual tax rate on ordinary income — a provision Sinema has opposed.
Sinema is a pivotal Democratic vote in the 50-50 Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also been in touch with her.
She has been under intense lobbying pressure from the private equity industry to remove it from the bill. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce launched an advertising blitz this week to try to sway the senator.
“The Arizona Chamber strongly opposed the original Build Back Better bill for the damage it would inflict on the Arizona and U.S. economies, and we oppose this version’s tax hikes and its anti-innovation measures, too,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden said in a statement.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, argued that the bill just closes unfair loopholes that allow the wealthy and corporations to pay less than their fair share.
Manchin, in numerous radio and television interviews on Tuesday, also described the bill as pro-business, pro-growth and fiscally responsible because it lowers the budget deficit by $300 billion. He said that when combined with a side deal with Democratic leaders and the White House to pass permitting changes by Sept. 30, it is an “energy security” measure.
In particular, Manchin said the deal would allow the delayed Mountain Valley pipeline to be completed by resolving court challenges to its completion. West Virginia would gain 2,500 jobs from the pipeline directly and would benefit from provisions in the bill for coal communities and to boost carbon capture at coal plants, Manchin said.
GOP senators are expected to be unified in their opposition to the legislation, but Manchin said Republicans like fellow West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito should support both bills.
“We are going to open the spigot and produce more,” he said. “This is everything they ever wanted.”