Manchin, Schumer reach agreement on framework for massive domestic spending bill

Following more than a year of intra-party infighting, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday he had reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on a massive domestic spending bill.

Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden spent months trying to convince Manchin, who is more moderate than most of his liberal colleagues, to support Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, which would have cost $3 trillion.

But Manchin kept saying no — until now.

While the legislative framework that Manchin and Schumer agreed to for the so-called Inflation Reduction Act is not the same as that of the Build Back Better bill, it allocates massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to similar priorities.

“The package would set aside $369 billion for climate and energy proposals, the most ambitious climate action ever taken by Congress, and raise an estimated $451 billion in new tax revenue over a decade, while cutting federal spending on prescription drugs by $288 billion,” The New York Times reported, citing a summary put out by Senate Democrats.

“The product of a deal announced by Mr. Manchin and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, it would reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion, while seeking to push down the cost of health care, prescription medicines and electricity.”

Fox News provided more details on what the legislation does.

“According to Schumer’s and Manchin’s offices, the bill will raise $739 billion in revenue through IRS tax enforcement, the corporate minimum tax and closing the carried interest loophole. It will spend $433 billion total, they said, on energy and climate change provisions and on the ACA extension,” the outlet said.

Senate Democrats could attempt to pass the bill next week, The Times reported. They will have to use a process known as budget reconciliation, which allows them to pass legislation with a simple majority. Assuming no Republicans vote in favor of the bill, Democrats will need all 50 senators in their caucus to vote “yes.”

“For too long, the reconciliation debate in Washington has been defined by how it can help advance Democrats political agenda called Build Back Better,” Manchin said in a statement. “Build Back Better is dead, and instead we have the opportunity to make our country stronger by bringing Americans together.

“I will do everything I can to usher in a new era of compromise and commonsense that will make America more energy secure, financially sound and a more united country for this generation and the next.”

But top Republicans criticized the legislation.

“Democrats have already crushed American families with historic inflation. Now they want to pile on giant tax hikes that will hammer workers and kill many thousands of American jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted.

“First they killed your family’s budget. Now they want to kill your job too.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham expressed similar sentiments.

I can’t believe that @Sen_JoeManchin is agreeing to a massive tax increase in the name of climate change when our economy is in a recession,” Graham tweeted.

“I hope that common sense will eventually win the day. What I am hearing about the terms of this latest reconciliation deal make no sense.”