Manchin says Democrats should pay for infrastructure, raise corporate taxes

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (D-W.Va.), a key centrist, says Democrats should pay for a planned $3 trillion infrastructure package and look at repealing parts of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to pay for it.

Manchin says he could support a package as large as $3 trillion, the price tag on the proposal being floated by the White House, as long as it doesn’t add substantially to the federal deficit.

“As long as it’s paid for. We need — this country needs to rebuild itself. We need to rebuild ourselves, and it has to be infrastructure,” he told reporters Tuesday.

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In a follow-up interview Wednesday, Manchin clarified that he wants to pay for as much of President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE’s bold infrastructure as possible and would be willing to raise the corporate tax rate to 25 percent to raise revenues.

“I think we should be paying for anything that adds to the debt, I really do,” he said. “So, I’m saying everything we possibly can.”

“There will be times when we can’t; I understand that,” he added.

Asked where lawmakers will find $2 trillion or $3 trillion to pay for what Democratic leaders say needs to be a “big and bold” infrastructure package, Manchin said “there are going to be tax adjustments; I understand that.”

He said Trump’s tax-reform law was “basically all weighted in one direction to the upper end.”

“I think there has to be some changes, I truly do,” he said. “I think the corporate tax should never have gone below 25 percent. That’s one, that’s $400 billion right there."

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“I’m not afraid to look at other things,” he added.

Trump’s signature tax-reform law set the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, which Republicans extolled as a major accomplishment to make the United States more competitive with other countries as a home base for corporations.

The previous corporate tax rate was 35 percent, but many companies paid far less than that thanks to special tax breaks, which Trump’s reform initiative sought to eliminate or curtail.

Manchin, however, didn’t balk at spending $2 trillion or $3 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure.

“We’ve already spent almost $7 trillion right now just trying to survive the pandemic,” he said, predicting the infrastructure package is “going to be enormous.”

Other centrists in the Democratic caucus say a substantial portion of the infrastructure package should be paid for.

“I think there have to be substantial pay-fors,” said Sen. Angus KingAngus KingSenate falling behind on infrastructure Hillicon Valley: Senators introduce bill to require some cyber incident reporting | UK citizen arrested in connection to 2020 Twitter hack | Officials warn of cyber vulnerabilities in water systems Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (I-Vt.), who helped mold the Senate’s version of the American Rescue Plan, which reduced weekly federal unemployment benefits from $400 — the level set in the initial House bill — to $300.