Manchin sketched out what could get him aboard a new social and climate bill.
It would start with prescription drug reforms and repairing a tax code that favors the wealthy.
It's a big signal that Manchin is willing to return to the negotiating table.
After tanking the vast majority of President Joe Biden's economic agenda last year, Sen. Joe Manchin could be ready to resume talks — as long as the bill is slimmed down.
On Wednesday, the West Virginia senator laid out what could be Biden's last shot at enacting swaths of his stalled domestic agenda before the November midterms.
In an interview with Politico, Manchin said he can give a thumbs-up to a Democrat-only package that starts off with prescription drug savings and an overhaul of the tax code. He hasn't budged on pushing for a bill that establishes a few permanently-funded programs, rather than the cocktail of short-term initiatives in the original Build Back Better legislation. He's also frequently spoken in favor of a plan that reduces the federal deficit, or the gap between what the federal government spends and takes in.
"If you do that, the revenue producing [measures] would be taxes and drugs. The spending is going to be climate," Manchin told Politico, adding that "social issues" would be addressed separately from such a plan.
It amounts to a big signal that Manchin is willing to return to the negotiating table after quitting talks with the White House in December. He sank the $2 trillion House-approved Build Back Better plan after persistently criticizing its spending and potential impact on inflation. The party needs his vote to sidestep likely unified GOP opposition in the 50-50 Senate.
Biden sought to restart his stalled domestic agenda at Tuesday evening's State of the Union, calling Congress to pass a plan geared at helping families with their day-to-day expenses and cutting the federal deficit.
He outlined a handful of his chief priorities to combat decades-high inflation, including establishing prescription drug controls, affordable childcare, fresh healthcare subsidies, and more.
Still, some of these measures may not pass muster with Manchin. He told Insider last month that he believed affordable childcare was a "social issue" that had to be dealt with through committee hearings. Manchin has also objected to the monthly child tax credit program, which expired last year.
Democrats spent over half a year in back-and-forth negotiations on centerpiece of their domestic agenda. They may be ready to take what Manchin hands them on climate-related tax credits and whatever doesn't register as a "social issue" with him.
"We have to have 50 votes," Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told reporters. "There's no way around the math."
She said that she believed every Senate Democrat backed universal- pre-K, in-home and community-based care for seniors and the elderly, and establishing a 15% minimum tax on corporations.
Read the original article on Business Insider