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Biden In Israel: "We Must Keep Alive the Truth and Honor of the Holocaust" | Main | Quick Hits
July 13, 2022

Manchin's Been Hinting He Might Go For $1 Trillion In New Spending. Will the Red Hot 9.1% Inflation Rate Cool Him to That Idea?

There's been a lot of chatter that Manchin might be ready to agree to $1 trillion in new spending of Biden's "Build Back Brandon" spending bonanza, even in the face of crippling inflation.

He's agreed to allowing Medicaid negotiate for prescription drug prices, and might be willing to cancel some of the 2017 tax cut. One trillion of it, in fact.

And then spend that money on Democrat social spending initiatives. Though he wants half spent on "deficit reduction," he says.

The drug price regulation proposal was a cornerstone of the Build Back Better Act, Mr. Biden's signature $2.2 trillion plan that encompassed much of his domestic agenda. It cleared the House in November with only Democratic votes but stalled a month later after Mr. Manchin declared he could not support such a sprawling and expensive package as inflation began to climb.

Mr. Manchin has repeatedly said any package must be focused on reducing the national debt, tackling the costs of prescription drugs and undoing pieces of the tax law Republicans muscled through in 2017. And while he opposed key pieces of his party's ambitious plans to address climate change, Mr. Manchin has signaled openness to including a climate and clean energy tax package in his talks with Mr. Schumer.

"Senator Manchin has long advocated for proposals that would lower prescription drug costs for seniors, and his support for this proposal has never been in question," said Sam Runyon, a spokeswoman. "He's glad that all 50 Democrats agree."

Washington Post ultra-liberals Paul Weldman and Greg Sergeant are already divvying up the sweet sweet pot of new social spending money.

What's more, the movement on Medicare prescription drugs also holds out a tantalizing possibility: that this could open the door to Manchin reaching a broader deal that also extends the expanded ACA subsidies.

The expanded subsidies, which were originally passed in the 2021 covid-19 rescue package, are on track to expire at the end of this year. They were set to be extended as part of BBB, but Manchin killed that.

For them to expire now would mean millions of people see premium hikes, and a few million more could lose coverage entirely. Given that Democrats spent a decade winning the argument over the ACA, while slowly expanding it toward universal health care, such a massive regression would be an utter catastrophe, both substantively and politically.

Fortunately, NBC News reports that Manchin is open to extending the subsidies, though he doesn't seem enthusiastic about it.

Here's the thing, though: If Manchin is willing to do this, it absolutely can be done inside the parameters that he himself has set.

Here's why: Most reporting suggests Manchin seems open to a revived, scaled-down BBB that raises around $1 trillion, both by rolling back some 2017 GOP tax cuts and with Medicare prescription drug reform (which would save the government money).
Manchin wants to put half of that $1 trillion into deficit reduction. That would leave around $500 billion for public and social spending.

If around $300 billion of that went to funding the transition to clean energy, through tax incentives and other means -- a key part of BBB that Manchin appears open to -- that would leave around $200 billion for expanded ACA subsidies.

Manchin seems very slippery on this point. Apparently he thinks he's "reducing the deficit" if he jacks up taxes by a trillion and supposedly puts half of that into "deficit reduction" while spending the other half on more ruinous spending.

But Nick Arama at Red State says that maybe today's 9.1% inflation report has him on the back foot as far as joining Charles Schumer and Joe Biden in their spending kamikazi mission.

Burgess Everett @burgessev

More cold water from Manchin after inflation report: "No matter what spending aspirations some in Congress may have, it is clear to anyone who visits a grocery store or a gas station that we cannot add any more fuel to this inflation fire."

But Manchin, in his head, would not be "increasing spending," because he'd be "paying for it" by raising taxes.

Meanwhile, also via Nick Arama, the White House spokesman who told us we had to endure crippling inflation to guarantee "the liberal world order" tells us the scorching hot inflation report just increases the "urgency" to pass more and more spending.

He links this flashback to June as an encapsulation of the Biden Administration (and of CNN, actually).

digg this
posted by Ace at 05:47 PM

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