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Friday, November 26, 2021

Biden’s Dilemma: Satisfying Manchin Risking Losing Other Demos

MATTHEW DALEY and LISA MASCARO

WASHINGTON (AP). This is a recurring question from Washington: what does Joe Manchin want?

But the answer is becoming more and more obvious. The conservative West Virginia Democrat wants to dismantle President Joe Biden’s proposed strategies for climate change and expanding social services in ways that are simply unacceptable to most of his party members.

So the question becomes less about what Manchin wants, but more about whether Biden can bring him, the party’s other centrist senators and progressive supporters to a compromise and save his once massive $ 3.5 trillion proposal from collapse. dollars.

As the White House pushes its Democratic allies on Capitol Hill to complete tedious negotiations before the deadline, pressure is mounting on the party to keep its small majority in Congress together to fulfill Biden’s priorities. On Tuesday, the president will meet again with House of Representatives from both groups at the White House. On Monday, Manchin met separately with two progressive leaders: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.

“We are at a point where we feel the need to move forward,” Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted on Monday.

For months, Manchin publicly and repeatedly objected to the size and scope of Biden’s plan to expand social safety nets, tackle climate change, and tackle income inequality.

He and his fellow centrists, including Democratic Senator Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, forced Biden to admit that the final price would likely be much less, probably around $ 2 trillion – mainly due to higher taxes from corporations and the wealthy. , earning over $ 400,000 a year.

But as negotiators scrutinize the details of what is in the proposal and what is not, it is Manchin’s priorities that spark most of the debate, infuriate colleagues, and complicate the deal.

For starters, Manchin is willing to raise the corporate tax rate to 25%, albeit not as much as the Democrats proposed at 26.5%, to fund Biden’s expansive vision, agreeing that corporations should pay their “fair share” at the time. when many reported that they did not pay any taxes.

But after that, the senator of the coal state parted with the progressives and most of the other members of his party.

By insisting on a “fuel-neutral” approach to energy policy, he threatens to destroy the cornerstone of the climate change plan, the Clean Energy Payments Program, which will offer grants to energy companies that increase clean energy production by 4% each year, and fines … those that don’t.

On another important issue, by adding job requirements or income thresholds for government aid recipients, he wants to restrict new childcare and health care programs for Americans most in need.

With an amazing ability to stay in the spotlight with a wide variety of demands, Manchin tests the patience of his colleagues, who see a unique opportunity to change government programs to suit his personal preferences. Since Republicans are totally against Biden’s plans, the president needs all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate to get through.

“I hope we see real action within the next week or so,” Sanders, of the Vermont Independent, said after a private meeting with Manchin.

Over the weekend, they had a fierce exchange of views at a distance – Sanders accused Manchin as one of two senators who supported the deal; Manchin denounced the “immigrants” trying to tell West Virginias what to do, but on Monday they were collegial.

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“We discussed next steps,” Sanders said.

As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Manchin says that, both publicly and privately, he has publicly expressed concern that some of the Democratic proposals could harm his coal and gas state.

In a conversation with the White House over the weekend, Manchin reiterated his opposition to the clean energy plan – as Biden prepares for a UN climate summit at the end of the month and Secretary of State John Kerry warns against setbacks as the administration calls for. regain leadership in climate issues.

According to Biden’s proposal in the draft bill, the US will provide financial rewards to utilities that meet clean energy criteria and impose financial penalties on utilities that do not, in line with the president’s goal of 80% clean electricity by 2030.

While the Democratic Party’s plan focuses on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, Manchin insists on maintaining tax breaks from fossil fuels, along with incentives for wind and solar. He also says that natural gas “should be” part of the mixture.

Natural gas produces less carbon emissions than coal or oil, but has overtaken coal as the largest source of carbon pollution in the US energy sector, thanks in part to the US frac boom.

“I am totally for clean energy, but I am also for producing the energy we need to be reliable,” Manchin said.

The progressives have strongly retreated.

“No climate, no deal,” Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts, said at a recent Capitol press conference.

“And let me be clear: natural gas is not clean energy and it is not a fight against climate change,” he added.

Lawmakers are currently considering a ‘menu’ of other emission reduction options to replace Biden’s clean energy plan. Manchin has pushed for “carbon capture” technology that burns coal and natural gas, capturing harmful emissions, but he laments that it is “so damn expensive it’s almost impossible to do it.”

A compromise solution could come from a proposal by Senator Ron Weeden, Oregon, chairman of the Finance Committee, who said the bulk of the greenhouse gas cuts would come from the revision of the energy tax, which he chairs.

Tax changes that his committee is considering include tax breaks for energy producers that cut emissions and pollution charges that businesses must pay for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit that heats plants.

The carbon tax is viewed by economists as the most efficient way to cut fossil fuel emissions, and the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s main lobbying body, has supported the idea of ​​pricing carbon emissions.

While Manchin’s climate objections are central to the debate, he is also pushing Democrats along other paths, limiting expanded social services only to people on modest or lower income levels.

Some of Biden’s proposals, including the Child Tax Credit, already contain income thresholds, in line with the president’s interest in helping middle-class Americans. Other assistance, including a proposed Medicare expansion that will include dental, vision and hearing aid benefits, will be available to all seniors, regardless of income level.

The White House acknowledges that income restrictions may be imposed.

“We’re talking about targeting the president’s proposals in some areas to the people who need help the most,” Psaki said.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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