“Reconciliation for me is about getting inflation under control, paying off this debt, sorting out what’s going on” through tax reform, Manchin told reporters after meeting Schumer.
The collective centrist, whose vote is needed for the Senate to pass 50-50 votes, said his bipartisan energy discussions do not mean that climate change provisions will be excluded from any reconciliation bill that may be put forward.
“No, no, no,” he said, adding that the climate will be “an important factor” as lawmakers pass partisan legislation.
Earlier, Manchin told POLITICO that the bipartisan group’s first meeting went well, but “we’re just getting started.”
He added that the senators in attendance were “just looking to see if there’s anything in common to make sure we have reliable energy and also the ability to go down the path of tackling the climate issues that we’re all worried about.”
Participants in this Monday evening meeting included Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) John Hickenlooper (D-Color.), Mark Warner (Two.), Tom Carper (D-div.), Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and Kevin Kramer (RN.D.), although other legislators were also invited. According to her spokesperson, Murkowski was unable to attend the first meeting in person.
Even those Republicans who attended or were invited to the session expressed doubt that any deal would eventually be struck.
“Is there something that can attract 10 Republicans and not scare off 10 Democrats?” said Sen. Kevin Kramer (RN.D.), highlighting carbon capture and nuclear power incentives. “If it starts to look like reconciliation or ‘Rebuild Better than It Was’, then obviously the Republicans won’t come out.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), who did not attend the meeting but saw some of the material, was also unimpressed and called the chances of a deal “unlikely.”
“It looked like BBB to me. I’m not sure if there’s a sweet spot here,” she said.
Other Democrats are suspicious of Manchin’s new attempt to find 10 Republicans to agree on a climate change and energy bill, suspecting it will prove futile. To some in the party, this is reminiscent of his failed attempt to get Republicans involved in election and voting reform. But Manchin was quick to point out that the Senate met last year to bipartisan infrastructure bill after negotiations, he helped lead the spearhead.
And there is recent history showing that Manchin can succeed; a bipartisan energy package designed by him and Murkowski has been included in the end-2020 spending bill, which includes climate benefits. However, any legislation that could win over 10 Republicans would likely be a bitter pill for climate hawks wary of significant further investment in fossil fuel technology.
“I think it will be hard work. If he can do it, great,” the senator said. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said. “I think the easier path is reconciliation.”
Others shared this sense of skepticism. Sen. Angus King (D-Maine), a member of the Energy Committee, called the deal “difficult.”
“That would take 10 Republicans, and unfortunately the closer we get to the election, the less likely there is to be bipartisan cooperation,” he said in an interview.
Manchin also wants to increase the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent. His centrist colleague Sept. Kirsten Cinema (Democratic Republic of Arizona), however, has previously resisted raising tax rates and has focused on creating new levies targeted at higher income earners.
Schumer did not set a deadline for when the Democratic Party caucus would have to come together on a party line package, although a reconciliation bill must be passed by Sept. 30 at the end of the fiscal year to maintain protection from the GOP filibuster. . While Democrats have focused their statements in recent weeks on cutting costs and fighting inflation, the path to a proposal that would bring together all 50 caucus members is murky at the moment.
Schumer described his meeting with Manchin as “preliminary and good” and said they would continue to communicate.
“There are different levels of optimism” in the Democratic Party caucus about the prospects for the party line bill, Majority Whip said. Dick Durbin (Dill.). “I’m more skeptical.”