Manchin defends climate, tax deal with Schumer in multi-show blitz

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) appeared on all five major political talk shows on Sunday to defend his climate, health care and tax deal reached with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) while fending off Republican senators who called it a betrayal.

Manchin took to the airwaves to portray the package as inflation-fighting legislation, championing provisions like those empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices and a $300 billion allocation to reduce the federal deficit.

“It’s not a Democrat bill,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s not a Republican bill. It’s definitely not a green bill. This is a red, white and blue bill, and it’s great for America.”

For months, Democrats hoped to pass massive climate legislation through reconciliation, an arcane budget rule that avoids the 60-vote threshold required for most bills.

Manchin tanked Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better reconciliation package last year, but he privately negotiated with Schumer in recent months on a slimmed-down bill that would also lower health care costs.

Manchin and Schumer had kept their back-and-forth more private than the Build Back Better negotiations, with some Democrats previously expressing frustration by the drawn-out process.

“We’re not spending money, we’re investing,” Manchin said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We’ve taken a $3.5 trillion aspirational bill that I never could come to an agreement on in any way, shape or form — but I tried, couldn’t get there,” he said. “And we’ve taken $3.5 trillion of spending down to $400 billion of investing without raising any taxes whatsoever.”

After months of private talks, Manchin on Sunday served as a forceful public advocate for the package, which includes hundreds of billions in funding for climate-related programs.

By appearing on all five major Sunday talk shows, Manchin had been dubbed to complete a “full Ginsburg” but several people, including former officials, wrote to Politico to say that because all of Manchin’s appearances were remote, as opposed to shuttling to all five D.C. television studios, it had only been a modified Ginsburg. The term is named for Bill Ginsburg, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky’s attorney, who first completed the feat in 1998.

Nonetheless, Manchin became the 30th person to complete the feat, although some have also considered then-President Obama’s Sunday show run in September 2009 as a modified full Ginsburg when he appeared on Univision rather than Fox News as his fifth appearance of the day.

The most recent person to officially complete the feat was Anthony Fauci, who appeared on the five Sunday shows in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down normal life.

During his appearances on Sunday, Manchin also pushed back on GOP criticisms that he betrayed them by announcing the deal with Schumer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had threatened Republican support for a bipartisan bill boosting the domestic semiconductor industry if Democrats moved forward with a reconciliation package.

Talks between Manchin and Schumer broke down on July 14, but hours after the semiconductor bill cleared the Senate on Wednesday, the duo announced the closely guarded agreement.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the deal “political warfare” and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told the Huffington Post that the timing “could not have been worse,” leading some to worry that ongoing attempts for bipartisanship on same-sex marriage and election reform could now be doomed.

“It’s such a shame,” Manchin said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“John Cornyn is a good friend of mine,” Manchin said. “He’s such a good man. And for the politics to be so toxic right now, first of all, I never thought this would come to fruition.”

Manchin on multiple Sunday shows said he hoped Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who is seen as the most moderate Senate Democrat beyond Manchin, would vote for the package. Manchin noted that Sinema supports provisions to empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

“She has a tremendous amount of input in this piece of legislation,” Manchin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I would like to think she would be favorable towards it, that I respect her decision. She’ll make her own decision based on the contents.”

Sinema has not yet announced a position on the bill.

“Senator Sinema does not have comment as she’s reviewing the text and will need to see what comes out of the parliamentarian process,” a Sinema spokesperson told The Hill on Sunday.

When asked by guest host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday” about Sinema seemingly being blindsided by the agreement, Manchin said: “You know, the smart political thing is do nothing, I guess. That’s what a lot of people do. Just sit back and do nothing because you can’t get criticized for it.”

Meanwhile, Manchin championed the package’s $369 billion in proposed investments for energy-focused climate programs, arguing it would reduce high energy costs that have contributed to recent high inflation.

“You’ve got to produce,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“And if you’re going to produce, you have to be able to have more energy so you can get the gas prices down, have more production and more manufacturing, so you get people working and not having layoffs and things of that sort,” he said. “It’s going to take some investments.”

He also argued the bill’s raising of new revenues — like a 15-percent corporate minimum tax, stronger Internal Revenue Service enforcement of the nation’s tax law and a closure of the carried interest loophole for money managers — did not constitute raising taxes.

“We did not raise taxes,” Manchin said on Fox News. “We’ve closed loopholes. That’s all we did.”

Manchin and Schumer are aiming for the bill to pass before the upcoming August recess.

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