Biden is 'positive' about budget deal; Manchin okay with wealth tax

Senator Joe Manchin, a pivotal Democratic senator, appears to support the White House's proposal for new taxes on billionaires to pay for President Joe Biden’s climate change and social services packages.

Biden is 'positive' about budget deal; Manchin okay with wealth tax

Biden stated Monday that he was "very positive" about reaching an agreement on his major domestic policy bill. He aims to get votes in Congress this week, though that is not certain.

Before leaving Delaware, the president stated that "that's my hope" before he traveled to New Jersey to highlight his infrastructure and child care measures.

Democrats are intensifying their efforts to close talks and scale back the $3.5 trillion plan that was once a broad plan to fund the entire country. This will allow the president to highlight his achievements at the two international summits on climate change and the economy, which begin later in the week.

Biden sat down with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the conservative West Virginia Democrat Manchin at his Delaware home Sunday to discuss how they can resolve the disputes between progressives and centrists that have stalled Democrats' broad-ranging bill. According to a person who requested anonymity to discuss Manchin’s position, the White House is accepting the new tax proposal from the senator.

The package is now expected to be at least $1.75 trillion. According to another person, this is within an acceptable range but could rise significantly higher.

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, stated that Biden's signature domestic effort would surpass any other legislative package, even at half the $3.5 trillion originally proposed. She also said that it would be more than any other legislation with large investments in child care and strategies for tackling climate change.

Pelosi stated Sunday that "it is less than what was initially projected, but it's still larger than anything we've ever done in terms of addressing the need of America's workers families," on CNN's "State of the Union."

After Democrats missed the deadline last week to resolve disputes, Biden met Schumer and Manchin at the president's Wilmington home. Biden stated that he would like to see a package of $2 trillion and they will try again this week to reach an agreement.

As Democrats insist that the new spending will be entirely funded by taxes, it is crucial to resolve the revenue issue. Biden is facing stiff opposition from the Republicans and a 50-50 Senate. The two Democratic senators insist on reducing the massive package's size and pushing for other changes.

After Sinema rejected a plan to reverse Republican-led 2017 tax cuts, raise rates for corporations earning more that $5 million per year, and rich Americans earning more $400,000 or more, Sinema's proposal to increase taxes to pay for the package has been a key issue.

The White House is instead considering a tax on billionaire investment incomes -- less than 1,000 Americans with assets of at least $1 million. The White House also proposed a 15% corporate minimum income tax, which is intended to make sure all companies pay what Biden calls "fair share". This would end the practice of big-name companies not paying taxes.

Manchin may not support any new taxes at all, but he supports the White House proposals. According to the person who requested anonymity to discuss Manchin’s position, it is unclear how high. The negotiations were not authorized to be discussed by the names of those who insist on anonymity.

According to the White House, the breakfast meeting was a productive discussion about the president's agenda. Although the talks lasted for several hours, no decisions were made. In its post-meeting statement, the White House stated that Democrats "continued making progress".

In the beginning, Democrats had hoped that Biden's package would include $3.5 trillion in spending and tax reforms over a period of 10 years. However, moderates Sinema and Manchin demanded that the package be priced lower than $2 trillion to limit costs.

There are still disputes over large-scale investments. These include plans to increase Medicare coverage for seniors with vision, hearing, and dental benefits; child care assistance; as well as plans to provide free pre-kindergarten.

Pelosi, D.Calif., stated on CNN that Democrats are still working to preserve provisions for four weeks paid family leave, but also acknowledged that it could be more difficult to save money by expanding Medicare to include dental coverage.

Pelosi stated that 90% of the work is complete and she expects an agreement by week end. This will allow for a House vote to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill prior to next Sunday, Oct. 31 when a number of transportation programs will expire. Over the summer, the Senate approved the package of road, broadband, and other public works projects. However, the House stalled the measure during deliberations about the larger Biden bill.

Manchin, whose state is home to a large coal industry, has rejected Biden's original climate change proposals. This included a plan that would penalize utilities for not switching to clean energy quickly. To meet Biden's goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gases emissions by 50% by 2030, Democrats are also compiling climate change strategies.

Democrats hoped Biden would highlight major achievements at a conference on climate change in Scotland in November, after he attended a summit of world leaders held in Rome.

Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent senator who caucuses alongside Democrats, stated that the expected cuts in the spending bill's clean energy provisions were particularly disappointing.

King stated on NBC's Meet the Press that "if we want to get the rest the world to take serious measures to fix this problem, then we have to do it ourselves."

Democrats want to see progress that can help Terry McAuliffe win a tight Nov. 2 gubernatorial race in Virginia.

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