All about Manchin: What Biden wanted for US, senator did not

Jul 15, 2022, 12:36 AM | Updated: 9:33 pm

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., pay their respects as the flag-d...

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., pay their respects as the flag-draped casket bearing the remains of Hershel W. "Woody" Williams, lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, July 14, 2022 in Washington. Manchin has told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he will oppose a economic measure if it includes climate or energy provisions or boosts taxes on the rich or corporations. (Tom Williams/Pool photo via AP)

(Tom Williams/Pool photo via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It launched as the new president’s ambitious plan for rebuilding America — a $2.3 trillion domestic infrastructure investment coupled with a $1.8 trillion plan to bolster U.S. families with support for health care, child care, college costs, unseen in generations.

Totaling more than $4 trillion when President Joe Biden unveiled the American Jobs and American Rescue plans in spring, what the administration called the “Build Back Better” agenda was instantly compared to those of his Democratic predecessors, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

And it was almost instantly shunned by Sen. Joe Manchin.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat said the proposals were too big, too costly, too much. As he engaged in negotiations, always the center of attention, the outcome was almost always reductive, cutting the size and scope of the package. His vote, in the even-split Senate, like those of every Democrat, would be needed for anything to pass.

This week, after more than 15 months of breathtaking political pivots, Manchin has reduced Biden’s big ideas for a sweeping investment to just two: Reducing the costs of prescription drugs and shoring up the subsidies some families receive to buy health insurance.

While Manchin and Biden had agreed on a smaller infrastructure bill that eventually became law, the investments the president sought for families and to tackle climate change remain deeply in flux. On Friday, citing the nation’s spiking inflation — as he did last year — Manchin wants another pause.

Here’s a look of what Biden envisioned when he declared America is “arising anew” with his proposals, and what remains within reach with Manchin.


Manchin stunned Washington again this week when it was disclosed that he wanted to drastically reduce the scope of revived package he was negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Democrats are racing to prop up Biden’s signature domestic proposal ahead of the midterm elections, and narrowed on a $1 trillion package — far smaller than first envisioned and about half the size of the $2 trillion package that passed the House late last year before Manchin walked away from talks.

What Manchin would be willing to do now was two proposals: Reduce the price of prescription drugs by allowing the federal government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies, while capping seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses to $2,000, and put the savings into subsidies that families are relying on to buy their own health care but that are about to expire.

Both are big Democratic priorities and would be consequential for Americans struggling to pay always high health care bills.

But compared to what could have been, they amount to about $300 billion.


Biden’s American Families Plan envisioned a vast investment for the nation’s families.

The cornerstone an enhanced $300 monthly child tax credit, first approved during the pandemic, that for a time was sending extra cast straight into parents’ bank accounts. It substantially reduced poverty and boosted households during the crisis. Biden wanted to extend it.

There was free pre-kindergarten for all, a $200 billion preschool program for 3- and 4-year olds to provide early childhood education and to help working parents juggle child care. Also, a $225 billion national paid family leave program so people could take time off, paid up to $4,000 monthly, at pivotal junctures — births, deaths and to care for loved ones.

Biden wanted to also provide free community college and funds for housing and other basic needs.

Eventually versions of the plan included free dental and vision for seniors, a nod to a top priority from Biden’s one-time rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.


The centerpiece of Biden’s climate change agenda was a $150 billion clean energy plan that would have rewarded power providers that use clean sources and penalized those that don’t.

But that approach had to be scrapped when Manchin objected.

More recently Manchin and Schumer were in talks over a slimmed back package, about $375 billion, of tax incentives and credits that the administration had hoped could achieve similar goals in reducing carbon emissions.

But that, too, is now scrapped. Manchin, among the post powerful coal state senators, prefers a “fuel neutral” approach that doesn’t hurt his home state industry.

While Biden, Manchin and others had successfully negotiated the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law last year, it, too, fell short of the administration’s climate goals.

Rather than a massive $174 billion investment in electric vehicles and a network of charging stations, the bipartisan compromise provided $7.5 billion for electric vehicles with fewer charging stations, along with money for electric school buses.


To be sure, the bipartisan infrastructure bill Manchin signed on to with Biden and the others made substantial investments in roads, bridges, broadband — all areas where Congress typically can find some agreement.

Yet even that bill, a hard-fought compromise, is much smaller than the White House envisioned in many areas — it provided half as much, $55 billion, as the administration wanted for removing lead pipes.


Other Democratic priorities that rose and fell during more than a year of negotiations over Biden’s once sweeping vision are long gone.

Also no longer on the table are the tax hikes on wealthy Americans and corporations that Biden and his party envisioned, in different variations, to pay for his big plan.

Biden had proposed raising the tax rate on those earning more than $400,000 a year, $450,000 for couples, back to 39.6% where it was before the 2017 GOP tax cuts. He wanted to lift the corporate rate to 28%.

In talks Democrats considered other options — a corporate minimum tax or a tax on billionaires.

It wasn’t Manchin who necessarily stopped those options. In fact, he supported some. But another Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had been a key hold out to many proposals for higher taxes.

Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - President Donald Trump sits at his desk after a meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, left,...

Associated Press

Trump indictment unsealed in documents case | Live updates

MIAMI (AP) — Follow along for live updates on classified documents at his Florida estate. The indictment marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw. Trump faces the possibility of prison if convicted. ___ LAWS APPLY TO ‘EVERYONE’ TRUMP SPECIAL COUNSEL SAYS […]

24 hours ago

FILE - In this file photo, a GameStop sign is displayed above a store in Urbandale, Iowa, on Jan. 2...

Associated Press

GameStop terminates CEO, former Amazon executive brought for modernization

Shares of GameStop are plunging before the opening bell after the company fired CEO Matthew Furlong, the former Amazon executive that was brought in two years ago to turn the struggling video game retailer around.

24 hours ago

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Altman on T...

Associated Press

OpenAI CEO suggests international agency like UN’s nuclear watchdog could oversee AI

Artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity, a key innovator warned during a visit to the United Arab Emirates

2 days ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

3 days ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

4 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

All about Manchin: What Biden wanted for US, senator did not