Joe Biden has a lot of non-traditional “infrastructure” in his near $2 trillion infrastructure bill that he wants Congress to pass, but it is not going to be that simple.
In a Senate that is split 50 / 50 between Republicans and Democrats Biden cannot afford to lose even one Democrat vote.
The issue for him is that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is not as progressive as the majority of the Democrats in Senate and des not appear set to vote for the new “infrastructure” Biden has proposed, The Hill reported.
“What we think the greatest need we have now, that can be done in a bipartisan way, is conventional infrastructure whether it’s the water, sewer, roads, bridges, Internet — things that we know need to be repaired, be fixed,” the senator said.
“Why don’t you take the greatest need that we have and do it on something that we all agree on?” he said.
“The other things that are conceptional, we can work on piece by piece, committee by committee,” he said, noting that a bipartisan bill on “conventional” infrastructure would be “doable.”
Manchin, the most conservative member of the Senate Democratic caucus, is a key vote in the 50-50 Senate.
He previously helped sink Neera Tanden’s Office of Management and Budget nomination, is helping lead a bipartisan group of 20 senators looking for potential deals and kept the Democrats’ coronavirus package in limbo for hours as he secured additional changes to the unemployment language.
Manchin isn’t the only Democrat who has suggested breaking up the White House plan. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a close Biden ally, has floated peeling off what could get bipartisan support into one bill and then passing what can’t in another package under reconciliation, which allows Democrats to bypass the filibuster.
A group of Republicans unveiled a $568 billion counteroffer to Biden’s plan Thursday that would focus more narrowly on roads and bridges, public transit systems, rail, wastewater infrastructure, airports and broadband infrastructure.
But before this statement Sen. Manchin has expressed his concerns about the Biden infrastructure plans.
Biden wants to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure plan but critics of the plan say that not everything in it has to do with traditional infrastructure and many believe that raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent is a non-starter. Among them is Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, CNN reported.
“As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” he said to West Virginia Metro News host Hoppy Kercheval in an interview when he was asked about Biden’s infrastructure plan.
Manchin said he is against raising the current 21% corporate tax rate — which was put in place by the 2017 tax overhaul under the Trump administration — to 28% as called for in the bill and instead supports a middle ground 25% rate, which he called “fair.”
The West Virginia senator said he would use the “leverage” he has in the 50-50 Senate to demand changes before voting to take up the bill, which has been introduced but expected to go through weeks or months of negotiations before being debated on the floor.
Manchin flexed his muscle in the interview saying that if he does not vote for the bill it is not getting done.
“If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere. So we’re going to have some leverage here. And it’s more than just me, Hoppy. There are six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this. We have to be competitive and we’re not going to throw caution to the wind,” the senator said, but he did not say who the other Democrats are.
The senator wants to work with Republicans on the infrastructure bill and have it be bipartisan he said.
“We have to have our Republican friends work with us too,” he said. “They just can’t be against everything thinking this going to be political posturing we are going to take for the 2022 elections.
Trump responded with:
“There is strength in unity and America is a great example of it to the countries across the world. In the need of the hour, each patriot has sacrificed their needs to help out a fellow citizen.”
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