But Manchin, whose vote is critical to passing Biden’s agenda, said he was still concerned about an expansion of Medicare and new paid vacation policies and wanted the price to stay at $ 1.5 trillion. , well below what many Liberals are demanding.
Manchin could have the final say as Biden and Democratic leaders moved significantly in his leadership to win over both the Democrat of West Virginia and another key moderate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, as both threatened to defect and effectively derail the agenda.
The push to win Manchin and reach a framework deal this week comes as the main Democrats hope to pass a separate, bipartisan, $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in the House as early as Wednesday. Progressives demanded agreement on the broader proposal before agreeing to vote on the infrastructure bill, leaving the fate of Biden’s two priorities intertwined.
Asked by CNN if there will be a framework agreement this week, Manchin said, “I think a framework should be, really should be. ”
“Getting it done with all the T’s and I’s and everything that is crossed and dotted, that will be difficult… but conceptually speaking, we should do it,” he said.
The social safety net plan aims to address a host of key democratic priorities in healthcare, family support and the climate crisis and would fulfill a large part of Biden’s national agenda. But agreement on key issues has yet to be finalized, including the overall cost of the package, how it will be paid for, and how to treat policy elements like a Medicare extension proposal that progressives want to see included.
Regarding the overall price, Manchin said it was “still” at $ 1.5 trillion for a topline, a number the top Democrats were hoping to raise given the progressives had asked for a price of $ 3.5 trillion.
Manchin also expressed concerns about insolvency when asked by CNN if he was ready to expand medicare.
“Medicare and Social Security are a lifeline for the people of West Virginia, most people across the country, and you need to stabilize that first before you focus on expansion.” , did he declare. “So if we’re not financially responsible, that’s a real concern. “
When specifically asked if he was concerned that the addition of dental, vision and hearing would make Medicare insolvent, Manchin said, “At the moment it’s not fiscally responsible, I don’t think. not. I’ve always tried to be fiscally responsible and for me to say to you ‘I’m going to give you something’, where by 2026 you could be paying more premiums because what we have right now is urgently needed. So I want to make sure that we reinforce everything. ”
When asked if he was concerned about the paid vacation in the package, Manchin said, “I am concerned about a lot of things. When asked if paid time off would be part of a framework agreement, he replied, “I’m not going to talk about what’s in and what’s out now because there’s a tremendous amount of moving parts, but there’s a lot of concern that we have a lot of different things. “
Manchin, however, suggested he was open to a billionaire tax and a minimum corporate tax as potential payment mechanisms for the plan.
When asked if he supports a wealth tax, Manchin didn’t end the idea, saying, “I basically support everyone who pays their fair share of taxes. How to get there, we all take a different approach to this, but when it comes to taxation, I think companies should pay at least a minimum if they are doing business in the United States. “
Manchin also described his overall philosophy as he plays a key role in negotiations and is often at odds with progressives in his party. “I’ve always said that I believe government should be your best partner, but it shouldn’t be your supplier,” he said.
CNN’s Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.