Joe Manchin says Republicans in ‘normal times’ would support energy and health care bill

“I think it’s a great bill and normally my fellow Republicans would be for something like this. We’ve basically paid off the debt, (which) is what they want. We’ve expedited the issuance permits, that’s what they want. And we’ve increased energy production, which they want. We’ve done things that we should be doing together,” said Manchin, who represents West Virginia, to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“Well, we found out they were wrong. And people can be wrong, but how the hell can that be inflammatory?” Manchin told Tapper. “How can it add flames to the inflation fires right now if you pay down the debt?”

He added: “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re tackling the problem. And those are solutions to the problems we have. So I know those who play politics with them.”

When Manchin and Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced the deal last week, it represented a breakthrough after more than a year of negotiations that have repeatedly collapsed.

Although many details were not disclosed, the measure would invest $369 billion in energy and climate change programs, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, according to a report. one-page fact sheet. It would also address the licensing of energy infrastructure, which could ease the path for a shale gas pipeline in West Virginia.

On Sunday, Manchin was asked about winning support from fellow moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for the legislation.

“Senator Sinema is my dear friend. We work very closely together on so many things, and she has so much in this bill. She has trained a lot and worked very hard. drugs, she was very instrumental in letting Medicare move forward and negotiate lower drug prices,” Manchin said of the Arizona senator.

He added: “I think basically when she looks at the bill and sees the whole range of what we’re doing…hopefully she’ll be positive about it but she’ll make her decision and I respect that.”

Manchin also defended a provision of the bill that would impose a 15% minimum tax on certain corporations.

“People should pay their fair share, especially the biggest American companies that are worth a billion dollars or more. Can’t they pay at least 15%, so we can move forward and to be the leader of the world and the superpower that we are?” he told Tapper, adding that the bill “imposed no burden on taxpayers.”

Republicans at the Senate Finance Committee on Saturday published data from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation it showed that Americans of all incomes would see their federal taxes increase under the climate and health care package. This analysis, however, examined the indirect effect of the 15% minimum tax provision on corporations. Economists assume that companies would then pass on part of their tax increase to employees by reducing their after-tax wages and job opportunities. In addition, shareholders would take a hit as the value of their equity holdings, including those held in pension plans and mutual funds, would likely decline.

Manchin said on Sunday he hopes the legislation will pass before the August recess, which is what Democratic leaders are hoping for.

The senator’s support is remarkable given its position at the beginning of the month that he would “unequivocally” support the climate or tax provisions of the Democratic economic package, which appeared to torpedo any hope Democrats had of passing legislation to address climate change in the near future. But he told Tapper on Sunday that he “never walked away” from negotiations with Schumer.

“I never left, but we rearranged the bill, if you will,” he said. “What we had before that, there were things in there that I considered and thought could be considered inflammatory. … Inflation is the biggest challenge we have in our country right now – in my state and across the country. So that’s what we’re fighting against.”

Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania criticized the deal in a separate appearance later on ‘State of the Union’, arguing it would have a negative effect. impact the US economy at a critical time.

“We haven’t seen any text, we don’t even know what it looks like. So it’s a disaster. It’s going to make our recession worse. It’s going to make inflation worse. It won’t do any good. I’m really surprised that Joe accepted that,” he told Tapper.

This story has been updated to include additional information from the interview.

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