Manchin and Schumer Hastily Reset Climate and Tax Agreement After Clash

 Manchin and Schumer Hastily Reset Climate and Tax Agreement After Clash

Manchin and Schumer Hastily Reset Climate and Tax Agreement After Clash

The West Virginia Democrat claimed that after returning to negotiations to develop a version that would battle inflation, he had yielded and agreed to sign on to a climate, energy, and tax package.

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In Washington Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who had been the main Democratic holdout on a climate, energy, and tax increase package that is the foundation of his party's agenda, announced on Thursday that he had caved and agreed to sign on after deciding that it would help combat inflation, as top Democrats toiled to rally support to swiftly pass the measure.

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According to Mr. Manchin, the unexpected compromise only started to take shape a few days after a contentious break in the negotiations between him and Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the majority leader, occurred when the West Virginian informed Mr. Schumer that he could not support a package with new climate spending or tax proposals this summer due to skyrocketing inflation.

Mr. Manchin, who is quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus this week, told reporters during a virtual news conference, "You know how our tempers get a little bit ahead of us at times."

He claimed that after he indicated he couldn't commit to the idea two weeks prior, Mr. Schumer "let the dogs loose" on him. Four days later, however, the two reconciled and sent their staffs back to the negotiation table to come up with a solution that both parties could accept.

They had reached an agreement by Wednesday. Withdrawing billions of dollars' worth of tax increases that Mr. Manchin opposed and obtaining a commitment from President Biden and Democratic leaders to pass legislation streamlining the permitting of energy infrastructure were crucial concessions that ultimately secured Mr. Manchin's support. That might make it easier for a West Virginia shale gas pipeline project in which Mr. Manchin has a personal stake.

He told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval on Thursday morning, "I'm talking straight to you, without enabling reforms, without the flexibility for America to do what it does best — produce — there is no bill." "That is well understood and agreed upon."

In a closed-door caucus meeting on Thursday morning, Mr. Schumer laid the groundwork for what is expected to be a challenging process of navigating the compromise through the evenly divided Senate. This process will be made more challenging by the chamber's obscure rules, Democrats' slim majority, and a coronavirus outbreak among senators.

He advised Democratic senators that now was their chance to fulfill their long-held goals of addressing the threat of climate change and enabling Medicare to, for the first time, negotiate the costs of prescription pharmaceuticals, thereby lowering expenses for patients.

According to a Democrat in the room who spoke about the private meeting under the condition of anonymity, Mr. Schumer warned his colleagues, "It will demand us to stick together and work long days and nights over the next 10 days." "We will need to be focused and rigorous in our messaging," he continued. It'll be difficult. But I'm confident that we can complete this.

For Mr. Biden and Democrats, who had accepted the failure of the climate, energy, and tax package and were preparing to advance a bill that would pair the prescription drug pricing measure with an extension of expanded health care subsidies, the abrupt announcement of a deal held out the promise of a significant turnaround in the situation.

It would enable them to pass significant legislation to address health care costs, climate change, and inflation just weeks before the midterm congressional elections — all while keeping long-standing promises to tax the wealthy and reduce the deficit. Should the compromise hold and survive consideration by both the Senate and the House.

But the measure's future remained uncertain.

It was unclear whether was would receive the backing of all Democrats, which it required to pass. The Democratic senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, skipped the Thursday Democratic caucus meeting and refused to comment on the bill or say whether she intended to support it. Sinema is another holdout on her party's domestic policy package.

A spokesman said, "She's examining language and will need to evaluate what emerges from the parliamentarian process."

Ms. Sinema has previously opposed a plan to alter the agreement's favorable tax treatment for venture capitalist revenue.

Even if it can clear the Senate, the legislation still needs to pass the House, where Democrats can only muster a small number of votes given that Republicans are certain to oppose it unanimously.

Before the Senate is due to adjourn for its yearly August holiday, Democratic leaders hoped to hold votes on the proposal as early as next week. However, they will face a number of parliamentary and procedural obstacles, including a series of quick-fire, politically charged amendments that Republicans can impose before a final vote.

Democrats will also need all 50 senators in their caucus to support the bill in order for it to pass the Senate, along with Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote. Republicans are predicted to unanimously oppose the proposal.

The second-ranking Democrat senator from Illinois, Richard J. Durbin, said on Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been ordered to isolate himself.

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