Dual bills on US infrastructure increasingly likely
Manchin comments to NBC News
Comments from Senator Manchin yesterday highlight a path forward on US infrastructure that could involve a bi-partisan infrastructure deal on physical infrastructure coupled with a Democrat-only bill that focuses on what Biden calls 'human infrastructure'.
Manchin is key because he's a soft Democrat who has insisted on trying to strike a bi-partisan deal.
In comments to NBC News late yesterday he called for investments in child care, community college and paid leave. Importantly, he also called for raising taxes on the wealthy or 'adjustments' to the Trump tax cuts.
"Republicans have drawn a line in the sand on not changing anything, and I thought the 2017 tax bill was a very unfair bill, and weighted to a side that basically did not benefit the average American. So I voted against it," Manchin said. "I think there are some adjustments that need to be made.""Now, the size of the bill or what's going to be done - the scope of that, we've got to find out," Manchin said. "First of all, we should be looking at: What do we do that we think that keeps us competitive and make some changes in the tax code? Once you find out what makes you competitive in the tax code, then you'll find out how much money you have to invest in this human infrastructure."
Progressive Democrats are worried that if they support a bi-partisan deal on infrastructure, that Manchin will change his mind about human infrastructure and block it, so they want assurances that if they support a bi-partisan deal, that he and other moderates will be on board for a second bill via reconciliation.
I think that's how this eventually gets done, though a bi-partisan deal that the President will support is challenging because he's already said that he won't allow a hike in the gasoline tax to pay for it.