When asked on Tuesday if he thinks it would be easier if he just ‘shifted to being a Republican’ the senator replied: ‘Oh, it would be much easier, my goodness.’
In an interview with billionaire David Rubenstein at a breakfast event for The Economic Club Manchin said: ‘What I’m telling you now is who I am. Do you think by having a “D” or an “I” or an “R” is going to change who I am?’
‘I don’t think the Rs would be any happier with me than Ds are right now,’ he added, referring to the clashes he’s had recently with progressives over the Biden administration’s social spending deal.
West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he is asked ‘every day’ about switching to the GOP while sounding optimistic that his current party’s social spending and infrastructure bills would pass soon
In an interview with David Rubenstein at a breakfast event for The Economic Club the billionaire asked Manchin if he thinks it would be easier if he just ‘shifted to being a Republican’
On Sunday Manchin met with Biden and sounded optimistic that Democrats would come to an agreement on a final bill soon – which has been whittled down from $3.5trillion to his ideal figure of $1.5trillion just this week.
However, it remains unclear when exactly Manchin expects the spending and infrastructure bills to pass.
Over the weekend the moderate West Virginia senator met with the president and Sen Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. Manchin said he was not satisfied when Democrats simply raised the reporting threshold from $600 to $10,000 in aggregate transactions per year.
‘Even if it’s $10,000 that’s only $800, $900 a [month],’ he said.
But at this morning’s breakfast he noted there was a ‘high probability of Democrats’ social spending bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill passing in the near future.
Manchin said Tuesday morning: ‘I don’t know where in the hell I belong.’
Manchin’s comments followed a Mother Jones report that the senator has told associates he has a plan to leave his party if his liberal colleagues couldn’t find a way to cut down the $3.5trillion budget reconciliation plan.
If he followed through with his plan he would switch from Democrat to Independent. But he originally called that report ‘bulls***.’
‘I have no control over rumors,’ he said at the time.
Asked if he was staying in the Democratic Party and caucus, he said: ‘I am where I am.’
But one day later Manchin admitted he had offered to switch his party affiliation if it would be less of an embarrassment to Democrats, as many are frustrated that they cannot push their priorities through even with a majority in the Senate and House.
On Monday night Manchin said that he was ‘totally out of sync with 48 other Democrats’ he said at a dinner with reporters.
‘I love them all. And I love all the Republicans. So I’m just trying to survive in a very, very, very divided Congress in a very divided country.’
Manchin’s comments follow a Mother Jones report that the senator has told associates he has a plan to leave his party if his liberal colleagues cannot find a way to cut down the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan to $1.75 trillion.
On Sunday Manchin met with Biden and sounded optimistic that Democrats would come to an agreement on a final bill soon – which has been whittled down from $3.5trillion to his ideal figure of $1.5trillion just this week
Earlier in the day a group of 99 banks and industry groups wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to drop his proposal to hand over transaction data to the IRS, noting that they too were unsatisfied by raising the threshold.
The organizations that claimed to represent business and financial interests urged the White House to withdraw support for the measure and find ‘more targeted measures’ to reduce the tax gap.
Sen Manchin said he does not believe the proposal to allow the IRS to snoop on account transactions will make it into Democrats’ social spending plan, adding that Biden agreed with him that it is ‘screwed up’.
‘This cannot happen,’ he reportedly said at Sunday’s meeting.
The banking groups lauded the administration’s ‘good-faith attempt’ to make sure all Americans pay the taxes they owe but wrote: ‘Our members, and the American people, believe that they have a reasonable right to privacy and this overly broad proposal to report gross annual inflows and outflows from nearly every account is disconnected from its purported narrow purpose of focusing government scrutiny on Americans with actual income above $400,000.’
‘The privacy concerns for Americans who pay their taxes and would be swept into this account reporting program are real and should not be taken lightly,’ the letter continued.
It was signed by a wide variety of groups, from the American Bankers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Chamber of Commerce to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the National RV Dealers Association, the National Grocers Association and the North American Die Casting Association.
Under the revised policy accounts with $10,000 or more in total deposits and withdrawals, excluding wage income, would be subject to greater scrutiny. Banks would have to send over their aggregate inflow and outflow to the IRS to help the agency target its audits.
The inflow would not take into account salary or wage income, which is already under the purview of the IRS under W-2 forms. It would also leave out income in the form of Social Security checks.
‘At its core, this program that has not had a significant study or detailed examination to show consumer impact, will collect financial “metadata” on nearly every American in the hope that the IRS will be able to discern patterns in aggregate numbers that do not correspond to tax liabilities and target audits only to those who are breaking the law,’ the letter read.
‘This is a substantial expansion of the IRS’s authority that, once established, is sure to expand rather than roll back.’
The narrowing in scope came after Republicans and banks put up fierce outcries over what they view to be an invasion of privacy. But such groups are not satisfied even with the revision.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has insisted audit rates would not go up for those making under $400,000.