On Thursday, July 14, Senator Charles Manchin (D-WV) and his staff dealt a "crushing blow" to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with the former saying he was only willing to support a reconciliation bill in August if it includes a provision to lower prescription drug prices and a two-year extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies.
Two weeks ago, this news came via a Democrat who was briefed on the conversations, according to a Fox News report that noted:
Manchin was explicit that he won't support a bill before the midterms with any provisions on energy and climate or closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthy and biggest corporations, despite his support for those specific things during months of negotiations.
Democrats had hoped to pass a sweeping package to tout during the midterms.
Now, in a stunning reversal, Manchin has agreed to take swift action on the Democrats' proposed climate and tax plan. The West Virginia Democrat, known for his moderate leanings, has been a notable holdout on his party’s domestic agenda.
Intriguingly, the Senator now cites a reduction in inflation as one of his reasons for supporting the plan -- earlier this month, concern that the package would not have an impact on historic inflation levels across the United States was among Manchin's reasons for opposing the plan.
The New York Times reports:
The package [Manchin has reportedly agreed to] 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, according to a summary circulated Wednesday evening.
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 [for American families].
It is worth noting, the Times points out, that this plan "falls far short of the ambitious domestic policy and tax package President Biden proposed last year."
It is unclear what changed Manchin's mind so abruptly as Washington prepares for midterm elections in November, though it is important to note that his staffers were clear that the key centrist had not "walked away from the table" on July 14.
What do you think about Manchin's reversal on climate and tax measures?