Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia are standing firm in their refusal to support the Build Back Better legislation.
The House of Representatives passed the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda last month with no Republican support and one Democratic defector.
The $2.2 trillion spending bill would launch multiple new and expanded entitlement programs such as universal pre-K, expanded child tax credits, paid family and medical leave, increased coverage under the Affordable Care Act and rental assistance payments.
The New York Times reported that the single most expensive piece of the legislation sets aside $555 billion for climate change programs.
Additionally, the House version of the bill increases the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed under then-President Donald Trump, lowered the rate from 35 percent, the highest in the industrialized world.
Sinema has been making clear for months that she opposes a tax increase on businesses.
CNN’s Lauren Fox asked the lawmaker in an interview that aired Thursday whether Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have been taking her position seriously given that they have been promising that a corporate tax hike would be included in the bill.
“I don’t really spend much time thinking about what other people are saying publicly,” Sinema responded. “People back home in Arizona know that I am committed to ensuring that any legislation we pass retains America’s competitiveness.
“So I won’t support any legislation that increases burdens on Arizona or American businesses and reduces our ability to compete either domestically or globally,” she added.
Further, she stated that the legislation should be crafted “in a lean and efficient way that’s fiscally responsible and doesn’t impact things like inflation or make our businesses less competitive.”
Under Build Back Better, the average combined federal and state corporate tax rate would be 30.9 percent, the third-highest in the industrialized world, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
— Tax Foundation (@TaxFoundation) September 22, 2021
Manchin’s concerns about Build Back Better focus on spending.
According to CNN, the Democrat “still has a number of concerns, namely that budget gimmicks hide the true cost of the bill, and he’s pushing to ensure it costs no more than $1.75 trillion.”
The outlet reported that he is seeking to “pare down” the bill in a number of areas, including “paid family leave, a methane fee on emissions from energy producers and a Medicare expansion to cover hearing costs.”
“Debt and inflation are a big concern for me,” Manchin said. “Basically we should pay for what we’re doing.”
If Schumer put the bill on the floor now in its current form, the senator said, “I wouldn’t have any idea how I’m going to vote until I walk in.”
With the 50-50 party split in the Senate, a no vote from either Sinema or Manchin would sink the bill.
A Democratic source told CNN the likelihood of a Senate version of Build Back Better passing this year is “20-25%.”
A Morning Consult poll conducted last month found that 49 percent of voters supported the legislation, while 38 percent opposed it. Forty-three percent said the spending package would make inflation worse.
The poll was conducted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 21 among 1,999 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.