From December: How months of talks between Biden and Manchin on Build Back Better fell apart

Manchin torpedoes Democrats’ hopes of enacting sweeping climate action and tax hikes

The two had been negotiating for months and Schumer, a Democrat from New York, had made a number of concessions to reduce climate provisions to appease Manchin, whose support is essential in an equally decided Senate.

In a radio interview on Friday, Manchin disputed the characterization that he had blown up negotiations with Schumer, but said he had asked that they wait for the July inflation figures to be released and pursue that. after August vacation.

“I said, ‘Chuck until we see July inflation numbers, until we see July rates, basically the Federal Reserve, interest rates, so let’s wait until it’s coming out so we know we’re going down a path that’s not going to be inflammatory, to add more to inflation,” Manchin told Hoppy Kercheval on Talkline. “He says, ‘Are you telling me you won’t do the other one now? I said, ‘Chuck, it’s wrong, it’s not safe to do the other right now.’ “

CNN reported late Thursday that Manchin was willing to let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices and extend the Affordable Care Act’s enhanced grants for two years, one of the sources said, suggesting it’s is all Democrats are likely to get in the package.

It’s unclear whether Manchin’s public stance asking that negotiators wait until September to consider raising taxes or climate provisions means that prescription drug price changes and ACA subsidies would be separated. Democrats have been pushing to strike a deal before the August recess to give their vulnerable re-elected members a chance to campaign on the legislation.

John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress and Obama’s climate adviser, expressed skepticism about Manchin’s push for more time to review the deal.

“I think that channel is sold out,” Podesta said in an interview. “He killed this, and he has to own it. If he’s happy with the consequences of this, so be it, but it’s going to be devastating for a lot of people across the country.”

The moderate West Virginia Democrat, who cited increased federal spending as the main driver of inflation, would not budge on other Democratic priorities, and he told Schumer he would not consider raise taxes on the wealthy or corporations.

The change in tone of the last negotiations has been brutal. Manchin had supported those arrangements throughout negotiations with the Majority Leader, both on staff and member levels, one of the sources familiar with said.

News of Manchin’s stance not to support climate and fiscal provisions in the Democratic leadership, first reported by The Washington Post, has sparked outrage among climate activists and many fellow Democrats, who have already bubbled up over Manchin’s refusal to support some of the party’s most ambitious spending. proposals. In December, Manchin torpedoed a $1.75 trillion version of Biden’s climate and economic bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, angering the White House and Democrats who had been pushing for it. a much larger $3.5 trillion spending plan at the start of the Biden administration.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat my disappointment here, especially since almost all of the climate and energy space issues have been resolved,” said Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, whose committee had jurisdiction over clean energy tax credits and corporate tax provisions, said in a statement.

“This is our last chance to prevent the most catastrophic and costly effects of climate change. We cannot go back another decade and prevent hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of economic damage and undo the inevitable. human toll,” he added. added the Oregon Democrat.

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico questioned Manchin’s chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“We have an opportunity to deal with the climate crisis right now. Senator Manchin’s refusal to act is infuriating. It makes me wonder why he is president of the ENR,” Heinrich tweeted.

Likewise, climate advocates, many of whom expected to see the text of the climate and energy bill soon, reacted Thursday night with shock and outrage.

“This is nothing less than a death sentence,” Varshini Prakash, co-founder of youth climate group Sunrise Movement, said in a statement. “Clearly appealing to corporate filibusters is not working, and it will cost us a generation of voters.”

“There really are no words to express how appalled, outraged and disappointed we are,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.

Manchin’s office pointed to rising inflation. ‘Political headlines are meaningless to the millions of Americans struggling to buy groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,’ Manchin’s spokeswoman said. , Sam Runyon, in a statement. “Senator Manchin believes it is time for leaders to set political agendas aside, reassess and adapt to the economic realities facing the country to avoid taking actions that fuel the fire of inflation.”

Data released on Wednesday showed inflation hit a new pandemic-era high in June, with U.S. consumer prices jumping 9.1% year-on-year, the lowest level highest for more than 40 years.
From December: How months of talks between Biden and Manchin on Build Back Better fell apart

But Evergreen Action co-founder Jamal Raad told CNN Manchin’s argument about not spending more to avoid worsening inflation missed the mark on energy and fuel. climate.

“It’s not even about solving inflation because the main driver of inflation was gasoline prices, and he decided we should invest more in fossil fuels,” Raad said.

Democrats are now pushing for Affordable Care Act grants to be extended before the August recess to avoid major rate hikes that will be announced just before the midterm elections in November.

The grants were expanded as part of the US Democrats’ Bailout Act and made Obamacare scholarship coverage more affordable, leading to record enrollment this year. If allowed to expire at the end of the year, nearly all of the 13 million subsidized enrollees will see their premiums increased for 2023, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than 3 million people could no longer be insured, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute.

Democrats hope to avoid negative publicity from such bonus increases. If Congress doesn’t act, consumers will learn in the fall how much more they might have to pay. Open registration begins November 1, a week before Election Day.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.