Scoop: Behind Manchin’s $ 1.5 trillion reconciliation limit

Senator Joe Manchin (DW.V.) has privately warned the White House and Congressional leaders that he has specific political concerns about President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion social spending dream – and he will support it as little as $ 1 trillion – Hans d’Axios Nichols gets bail.

  • At most, it is ready to support 1.5 trillion dollars, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Why is this important: In a 50-50 Senate, that could mean the cap on Biden’s “Build Back Better” program – and that many progressive priorities, from universal kindergarten to free community college, are in danger of dying this Congress.

  • Manchin has also pledged to pay for any new expense with new income, which will limit the final size of any final package.
  • That amount would be in addition to a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal passed by the Senate and awaiting House action.

Between the lines: Underlying Manchin’s concerns about the Democrats ‘$ 3.5 trillion budget proposal from Senator Bernie Sanders’ budget committee are deep and substantial differences over the size and scope of specific programs.

  • Manchin has raised concerns over Biden’s plan to spend $ 400 billion on home caregivers.
  • He also talks about resource testing on other key proposals, including extending the enhanced child tax credit, which provides up to an additional $ 300 per child per month, free community college, credit for universal taxes for preschool and childcare.
  • And he’s skeptical that what’s known as dynamic scoring – which Democrats have adopted as a way of offsetting some of the costs of spending on hard infrastructure – can be applied to either “human” or “soft” infrastructure proposals. “.
  • For years, Republicans have relied on dynamic scoring to claim that tax cuts can pay off in the long run, growing the economy and therefore increasing incomes.

The big picture: House and Senate committees have until September 15 to draft specific legislation on how to spend up to $ 3.5 trillion – while finding $ 1.5 trillion in new revenue from businesses and Americans the richest – to implement Biden’s program.

  • Manchin threw cold water on the process last week with a Wall Street Journal op-ed, where he called for a “strategic pause”, citing inflation and the need to preserve some fiscal space to respond to COVID- 19, if the virus continues to rampage.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised House centrists a vote on the separate $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package by September 27.
  • Biden, speaking at the White House Tuesday night, said: “Joe in the end has always been there.”
  • “He’s always been with me. I think we can find a solution. I can’t wait to speak with him.”

Go back: During negotiations for the $ 1.9 trillion US bailout, Manchin helped force Biden to lower the amount of unemployment assistance and increase income limits on people who would receive payment checks direct from $ 1,400.

What we hear: The White House still seems optimistic about the possibility of reaching a deal.

  • Manchin was careful in his WSJ article not to close the door to future negotiations.
  • “Sanders wanted a large number and Manchin wanted a smaller number and we are going to work on that process to try to find common ground,” said a source close to the White House thought. “There is a wide range of opinions in the Democratic caucuses, and a lot of negotiations will take place. But we will continue to do so, finding common ground.”

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include President Biden’s comments.

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