Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia batted down Republicans’ criticism Monday that tax-and-climate legislation he crafted with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer would raise taxes on everyday Americans.
The centrist Democrat reiterated that the Inflation Reduction Act — as Democrats have named it — would close loopholes for wealthy Americans and large corporations by ensuring companies that have previously skirted taxes and earn at least $1 billion per year would be hit with a 15% minimum rate.
“I just need people to explain to me, for the wealthiest people in America … that have made more than any time in the history of this country, how [the taxes] would be detrimental? I just need to hear that explanation,” he told reporters at the Capitol.
Mr. Manchin rejected a recent finding from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation that predicted taxpayers who earn less than $200,000 per year would pay nearly $17 billion more in taxes in 2023 under the measure.
Critics have also pointed to an independent analysis by the Penn-Wharton Budget Model showing the bill would slightly exacerbate inflation before improving it. Inflationary concerns previously led Mr. Manchin to oppose the legislation, which includes $433 billion in new spending but is expected to reduce the deficit by at least $300 billion over the next decade with new tax revenues.
“We have to agree to disagree. A difference of opinion,” he said. “There’s not one penny of change in taxes. I have no idea where they’re coming from.”
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Democrats hope to pass the measure, which includes $369 billion for climate and energy initiatives, along party lines in the Senate later this week.
However, Mr. Manchin’s fellow centrist Democratic colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, is holding out on revealing her position until the Senate parliamentarian determines whether the legislation can proceed as is under chamber rules.
Mr. Manchin said he planned to speak with her Monday, but expressed optimism that she will ultimately back it.
“People have said this is a Democrat bill, Republican bill or ‘green’ bill. This is a red, white and blue bill,” he argued. “It’s an American bill.”