Senate

Manchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has reportedly laid down new red lines for the Democrats' multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill, this time making demands regarding the expanded child tax credit provision.

Axios reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Manchin informed the White House that the child tax credit must have an "established work" requirement and a family income limit in the $60,000 range if Democrats want his vote for the package.

Those demands, Axios noted, would significantly weaken the child tax credit, which is one of President Biden's key programs to assist working families. It would also bring down the price tag of the spending bill, which Manchin and fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have both said is too high.

Progressives, however, are unlikely to get on board with the scaled-back version of the child tax credit, according to Axios. 

Manchin has previously called for work requirements for the child tax credit, in addition to "means testing" to place a cap on the income of people who can receive benefits under the program.

He told reporters late last month, "I want work requirements for everything. Means testing and work requirements."

On Sept. 12, Manchin told CNN's Dana Bash that while he supports the child tax credits and is "trying to help the children," he wants to "make sure we're getting it to the right people."

"There's no work requirements whatsoever. There's no education requirements whatsoever for better skill sets. Don't you think, if we're going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?" Manchin said.

The senator's demands would also bring significant changes to the child tax credit after the president signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in March that funded the program for one year. The program will now give most families up to $3,600 a year instead of $2,000 annually and directly deposit the payments into bank accounts.

Manchin did, however, signal that he was willing to support Biden's $450 billion initiative to subsidize day care and provide free universal preschool, sources told Axios. He reportedly wants tighter income caps to be placed on day care subsidies but to keep preschool free.

The Hill reached out to Manchin for comment.

Manchin has drawn a number of red lines for the reconciliation package in recent weeks as he looks to wield his power during negotiations between the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Democrats need the support of all 50 of the party's senators for the reconciliation bill to get to Biden's desk. 

On Friday, a number of reports surfaced that the Clean Electricity Payment Program, which is key to Democrats' fight against climate change, would likely be removed from the reconciliation package because of opposition from Manchin - infuriating progressives who see it as central to their agenda. 

The program incentivizes utilities to move toward clean sources of energy by implementing grants and fines and is key to reaching Biden's goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent of the country's 2005 level by the end of this decade. 

Last month, the West Virginia Democrat also said the controversial Hyde amendment must be included in the spending package if Democrats want his support. Under the statute, which has been in place since 1976, Medicaid and other federal programs are not allowed to fund abortion expenses.

Manchin told National Review last month that the bill is "dead on arrival" if it does not include the Hyde amendment. However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has said she will not vote for any bill that includes the amendment. 

And Sinema has her own qualms with the legislation. The Arizona Democrat said she would not support the reconciliation package until the House approves the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which she helped negotiate, according to Reuters. That puts her at loggerheads with House progressives, who say they won't vote for the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes the reconciliation package. 

Additionally, both Manchin and Sinema were not ready to accept Biden's new compromise price tag of between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion for the reconciliation package, according to Axios. 

Outbrain