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Joe Manchin Makes Clear Another Stipulation for Key Biden Agenda Item

AP Photo/Raymond Thompson

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) continues to exert his influence over President Joe Biden's agenda items. As Hans Nichols reported for Axios on Sunday night in discussing "Manchin's red lines," the moderate Democrat has made it clear to the White House that he has firm requirements about the child tax credit (CTC). 

As "people familiar with the matter" told Axios, Manchin is insisting that there is a firm work requirement and a family income cap at $60,000.

Nichols points out that the senator's office declined comment for the article. 

While progressives at odds with Manchin and also Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for their issues with the $3.5 trillion spending bill, Nichols' reporting at least provides insight on what the two moderate Democrats are asking for:

The big picture: Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) held a call with House centrist lawmakers last Wednesday in which the senators detailed some of their specific concerns about Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending plan.

  • They also discussed the White House’s decision to link the package to approval of the separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — a demand of House progressives.
  • Sinema told lawmakers she will not vote for the social spending plan until the House passes the infrastructure bill, according to Reuters.
  • Neither Manchin nor Sinema endorsed Biden's compromise price for the social spending plan in the $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion range.
  • Manchin also continues to privately tell colleagues the president’s Clean Electricity Performance Program, a cornerstone of Democrats' plan to achieve zero-carbon electricity, is a non-starter.

Since Republicans are not on board with such spending, Democrats in the 50-50 Senate need all their members on board. 

While the revelations have brought in plenty of criticism for Manchin over social media, Nichols does begin and close his piece by acknowledging the cost-saving aspects:

Why it matters: While Manchin’s demands would dramatically weaken one of President Biden’s signature programs to help working families, they also would reduce the package’s overall costs.


By the numbers: Biden expanded the CTC for 2021, giving most families with young children up to $3,600 a year, up from the previous $2,000, with monthly deposits going straight into bank accounts.

  • By placing income caps and a W-2 eligibility requirement for receiving the child tax credit, Manchin would lower the overall price by a figure still to be determined.

There's also points included as to what Manchin does favor:

Go deeper: While Manchin has previously indicated he wanted progressive to pick one of Biden's three programs to help working families, he now seems more favorably disposed to policies that target families with young children in need.

  • In addition to the pared-back CTC, Manchin is open to Biden's $450 billion plan to subsidize day care and offer free universal preschool, the people familiar with the matter told Axios.
  • Manchin, however, wants to impose stricter income caps on the day care subsidies while keeping preschool free for everyone, as it already is in West Virginia.
  • The senator is less interested in the $225 billion to $450 billion paid family leave proposal or $400 billion for a new program to provide elder care, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nichols had called the CTC program "expensive, costing some $450 billion to extend it for the four years Biden requested — and an estimated $1.6 trillion over 10 years."

As I covered on Saturday, Manchin has also made his opinions known about a key provision of Biden's climate change plan, which likely necessitates taking it out of the budget plan. 


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