Sen. Joe Manchin.
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- Manchin told the White House he’d back a billionaire wealth tax as part of Build Back Better, The Washington Post reported.
- In October, Manchin had said he didn’t support such a tax, calling it divisive.
- Biden is trying to win Manchin’s support for his $2 trillion Build Back Better economic agenda.
Sen. Joe Manchin told the White House last week that he supported imposing some sort of wealth tax on billionaires, despite criticizing the idea two months ago, The Washington Post reported.
Manchin said he would support such a tax as part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better economic program, The Post reported, citing three people familiar with the discussions.
Biden is currently trying to court Manchin’s support for his flagship economic package. Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” on December 19 he could not vote for the current $2 trillion version of the agenda, putting its future in doubt as the bill needs unanimous support from Democratic senators to pass.
Manchin instead made Biden a $1.8 trillion counter-offer, which excluded several key components such as monthly child tax credit checks to families.
He did lay out his support for a wealth tax, however, The Post reported.
The move is a u-turn for Manchin, who has made his opposition to a wealth tax known in the past.
“I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin told The New York Times on October 27, saying billionaires “create a lot of jobs and invest a lot of money and give a lot to philanthropic pursuits.”
“It’s time that we all pull together and row together,” he said.
House Democrats had left any recommendation for a wealth tax out of their Build Back Better proposal following Manchin’s criticism, The Post reported.
The White House issued a stern rebuke of Manchin after he declined to support Biden’s proposal earlier this month.
“Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a Sunday statement.
“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”
Manchin said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction, telling the West Virginia podcast “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval” on Monday: “Basically, they retaliated. I figured they would come back strong.”
All 50 members of the Republican Party in the Senate are opposed to the economic package, so Biden needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators for it to pass.