Senate

Manchin told White House he would back version of billionaire tax: report

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and his staff return from the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, December 9, 2021 to pay their respects to the late Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
Greg Nash

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reportedly told the White House last week that he was open to backing some version of a billionaire tax as part of the party’s social spending and climate package before effectively tanking the Democrats’ chances of passing the legislation by announcing that he would not support the effort.

The Washington Post, citing three people familiar with Manchin’s private offer, reported on Friday that the centrist Democrat listed a tax on billionaire wealth as a potential way to fund the party’s investments in the Build Back Better Act.

A tax on billionaire wealth reportedly appeared toward the bottom of a list of spending and revenue proposals that Manchin backs. It is unclear if Manchin wrote a revenue estimate in his offer, according to the Post.

The tax on billionaires was reportedly part of Manchin’s $1.8 trillion package counteroffer the West Virginia Democrat presented to the White House before ending negotiations on Sunday. His proposal included universal prekindergarten for a decade, an expansion of ObamaCare and hundreds of billions of dollars to address climate change, according to the Post.

It did not, however, include an extension of the expanded child tax credit, which is set to expire this month if action is not taken, according to the Post.

Manchin presented his counteroffer days before he effectively crushed the party’s chances of passing the roughly $2 trillion bill, announcing on “Fox News Sunday” that he could not support the bill and that he was a “no” on the package.

The announcement followed months of negotiations between White House officials and congressional lawmakers.

Manchin’s openness to implementing a tax on billionaires appears to be a shift in his position. He said in October that he did not like the idea of targeting only the 700 wealthiest Americans to finance a large part of the party’s spending package.

His comments came after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) unveiled legislation that called for taxing billionaires and people who earned $100 million or more in three consecutive years.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin said when asked about Wyden’s legislation.

He said very wealthy individuals “bring a lot of jobs, invest a lot of money and give to philanthropic pursuits.”

“There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot going on with that. It’s very convoluted,” he added at the time.

The Hill has reached out to Manchin’s office for comment.

–Updated on Dec. 25 at 7:29 a.m.

Tags billionaire tax Build Back Better Joe Biden Joe Manchin Manchin proposal Ron Wyden spending bill

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