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On The Money — It all comes down to Bernie and Joe

Happy Tuesday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today's Big Deal: The ideological poles of the Senate Democratic caucus try to chart a path to an elusive deal. We'll also look at the overlap between Biden and Trump on China and a death blow for the carbon tax.

But first, some dating tips from the U.S. surgeon general.

For The Hill, I'm Sylvan Lane. Write me at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let's get to it.

Manchin, Sanders to seek deal on Biden agenda 

 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key figure in the Democratic negotiations over a major human infrastructure spending package, told Democratic colleagues at lunch Tuesday that he will work with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reach a deal by week's end, according to sources familiar with the lunch.

Manchin said he thought a general agreement would be possible by Friday, sounding a more optimistic tone behind closed doors than he did when asked by reporters earlier in the week about meeting an Oct. 31 deadline for passing legislation.

"Universally there was a desire to get this done by the end of this week," said a Democratic senator who participated in the meeting.

The game plan: 

  • Manchin told colleagues he would continue to talk with Sanders this week and that he would try to reach an agreement on a general framework for the bill that Democrats plan to pass on a party-line vote under budget reconciliation, two sources familiar with the meeting confirmed.
  • A second person familiar with the meeting said the talks will take place between Manchin, Sanders and centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), with Schumer acting as an emissary between Sanders and his centrist colleagues.

The background:  Sanders and Manchin met for the first time this week Monday night after a vote on a circuit court judge, shortly after exchanging salvos over the stalemated budget reconciliation talks during the October recess.

Asked on Tuesday about recent skirmishing between Sanders and Manchin, Schumer said: "What I've told our caucus is everyone is going to be disappointed in certain things but everyone's going to be glad about certain things." 

Read more: 

 

LEADING THE DAY

Biden holds Trump's line when it comes to China

President Biden has made sharp departures from Trump administration policies in many areas - but not when it comes to China.

  • Biden has kept former President Trump's tariffs on China in place and is now working to enforce the "phase one" trade deal reached by the previous administration. 
  • His decision to follow through on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan - of which Trump was the original architect - also allows his administration to focus U.S. resources abroad on countering China's growing influence.

The degree of continuity between the two administrations reflects the bipartisan support in the country and among Washington policymakers for a tough approach to Beijing. One of the few bipartisan bills moving through Congress would invest billions in technology research and development to make the U.S. more competitive with China.

Morgan Chalfant tells us what we can expect from Biden's economic policy toward China.

EXHAUSTED OPTIONS

Manchin, Tester voice opposition to carbon tax

Two Democratic senators on Tuesday expressed opposition to including a carbon tax in the massive social spending plan as Democrats scramble to make good on their pledge to combat climate change. 

Asked about a carbon tax, which would effectively place a fee on carbon dioxide and methane emissions, Manchin said the idea was not under discussion. "We're not - the carbon tax is not on the board at all right now," Manchin told reporters.  

Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), another red-state Democrat, said he also wasn't supportive of a carbon tax. "I'm not a big fan of the carbon tax. I just don't think it works the way it was explained to me," Tester said

  • A carbon tax has strong supporters within the Senate Democratic Conference but Manchin has long been skeptical of the idea, telling reporters in September, when it was last floated, that "any type of a tax is going to be passed on to the people." 
  • But it jumped back into the spotlight as Democrats scramble for alternatives after Manchin closed the door on including in their spending package the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which incentivizes companies toward clean energy sources.

"If the CEPP has fallen out of the package, that makes the methane and carbon pollution fees even more critical as a pathway to safety," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told The Hill this week.

But because Democrats are using reconciliation, a budget process, to pass the bill without GOP support, any ideas need total unity from all 50 Senate Democrats.

Good to Know

Senate Democrats on Tuesday are expected to roll out an IRS enforcement proposal that is narrower in scope than a version unveiled earlier this year by the Biden administration, following criticism from Republicans and banking groups.

Here's what else have our eye on:

  • An international group of Facebook content moderators are calling on subcontractor Accenture to raise their pay.
  • Facebook will also pay $4.75 million to the federal government to resolve claims of discriminating against U.S. workers through its recruitment and hiring practices, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday.
  • Johnson & Johnson raised its 2021 profit forecast after sales for its COVID-19 vaccine, a cancer treatment and other drugs helped the company soar above Wall Street's third-quarter earnings predictions.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 large employers believe some of their workers will quit their jobs over the Biden administration's coronavirus vaccine-or-test mandate, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management released Monday.

 

That's it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill's Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We'll see you tomorrow.

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