Biden says 'very positive' Manchin OK with 'billionaire' tax to pay for spending bill, pass Senate

The plan is to impose a so-called "billionaire tax" on individuals, corporations 

Updated: October 25, 2021 - 3:36pm

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President Biden expressed optimism Monday about fellow Democrat and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin agreeing on a new tax proposal to help pay for Washington Democrats' multi-trillion-dollar climate change and social spending bill, following a meeting this past weekend at the president's Delaware home. 

The plan is to impose a so-called "billionaire tax" on individuals and corporations. 

Biden said Monday he felt "very positive" about reaching an agreement on his initiative, as Congress returns to Capitol Hill this week with the possibility of the Democrat-controlled Senate passing the measure and sending it to Biden for approval. 

"That's my hope," Biden said before leaving his Wilmington, Delaware, home for New Jersey to tout his legislative agenda.

The Biden-Manchin meeting Sunday also included Senate Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer.

A source told the Associated Press the moderate Democratic senator, in one of the country’s most conservative states, is agreeable to the White House's new approach on the tax proposals.

The once-$3.5 trillion spending package is now at about $1.75 trillion, as part of a deal to win support from Democratic moderate holdouts Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kristen Sinema. 

"It is less than what was projected to begin with, but it’s still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America’s working families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Sunday on CNN.

With Senate Republicans opposition and an evenly split 50-50 chamber, Biden has no votes to spare, and the two Democratic senators have insisted on reducing the size of the package.

Sinema rejected an earlier plan to pay for the spending by reverse the Republican-led 2017 tax cuts and raise rates on corporations earning more than $5 million a year and Americans earning more than $400,000, or $450,000 for couples.

Instead, the White House is considering a tax on the investment incomes of billionaires – fewer than 1,000 of the wealthiest Americans with at least $1 billion in assets. It also has floated a 15% corporate minimum tax to ensure all companies pay what Biden calls their "fair share."

It’s unclear what level of the new taxes Manchin would support, but he generally backs the White House proposals, according to the person who insisted on anonymity with the wire service to discuss Manchin's position.

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