Manchin Says He Won’t Back Biden’s 28% Corporate Tax Rate

Manchin Says He Won’t Back Biden’s 28% Corporate Tax Rate

Sipa USA

President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan is already running into some roadblocks, with Republicans making clear they oppose it — and some Democrats now indicating they’ll seek significant changes.

Biden faces pushback from his own party: Progressives want Biden to spend more and expand his plan further. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told CNN on Sunday that Biden had made a “serious proposal” but added that “a lot more work has to be done” to address what he and the White House call “human infrastructure.” Sanders indicated he’d want more money to address climate change and more done to lower health care costs.

Centrists have their own qualms about Biden’s plan. Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, up from the 21% set by the 2017 Republican tax overhaul but lower than the 35% rate that had been in place before. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Monday that the president’s proposal “needs to be changed” and that he wouldn’t support a 28% rate. Manchin said he would back a rate of 25%.

As Democrats sought to pass their $1.9 trillion Covid rescue package last month, Manchin flexed his muscle as a key vote in the evenly divided Senate, pushing for concessions he wanted on enhanced unemployment benefits. His comments Monday indicate he’s prepared to do the same on the infrastructure plan.

“If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere. So we’re going to have some leverage here," he said in an interview with West Virginia Metro News’s “Talkline” show. But Manchin added that other Democrats share his concern about the proposed corporate tax rate. “There’s six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this,” he said.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) also told reporters Monday that he has some concerns about the Biden plan and expects to have more input into the package.

Republicans suggest “much more modest” approach:
 Republicans, meanwhile, are making what Associated Press Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro calls a “politically brazen bet that it’s more advantageous to oppose” the president’s plan. “Republicans are intent on saddling Democrats with responsibility for all the taxes and spending to come, much as they did the 2009 rescue after the economic crisis, framing it as government overreach that piles on debt,” Mascaro writes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters Monday that Biden's plan is “something we’re not going to do.” He said his party could back a “much more modest” plan that isn’t paid for by corporate tax hikes.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of Senate Republican leadership, told “Fox News Sunday” that Biden could win GOP support if he scaled back his plan by about 70% and focus a roughly $615 billion package on roads, bridges, ports, airports and perhaps water systems and broadband.

"I think there’s an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package which is about 30% — even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some — about 30% of the $2.25 trillion they're talking about spending," Blunt said.

Blunt suggested the package could be paid for through taxes on infrastructure usage, such as gasoline taxes and levies aimed at electric and driverless vehicles, or other options agreed to on a bipartisan basis. Blunt added that the White House could then follow up that “easy victory” on infrastructure with a more partisan package addressing other elements of Biden’s plan that Democrats could try to pass on their own.

The White House said Monday that Biden is prepared to negotiate with Manchin and others on how to pay for the package. “He knows some will come forward with different ways to pay for this package, and some may have views that it shouldn’t be paid for at all,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

But Biden shows no signs of being willing to dramatically slash his plan to satisfy Republicans. On Monday, he told reporters he will “push as hard as I can” for the plan to position the United States to better compete with other countries. "Everybody around the world is investing billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure, and we’re going to do it here,” he said.

Biden had indicated Friday that he thinks voters will see the benefit of his plan and could pressure GOP lawmakers to back it: “I think the Republicans’ voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done.”