All about Manchin: What Biden wanted for US, senator did not

Jul 15, 2022, 12:36 PM | Updated: 9:51 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — It launched as the new president’s ambitious plan for rebuilding America — a $2.3 trillion domestic infrastructure investment coupled with a $1.8 trillion plan to bolster U.S. families with support for health care, child care, college costs, unseen in generations.

Totaling more than $4 trillion when President Joe Biden unveiled the American Jobs and American Rescue plans in spring, what the administration called the “Build Back Better” agenda was instantly compared to those of his Democratic predecessors, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

And it was almost instantly shunned by Sen. Joe Manchin.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat said the proposals were too big, too costly, too much. As he engaged in negotiations, always the center of attention, the outcome was almost always reductive, cutting the size and scope of the package. His vote, in the even-split Senate, like those of every Democrat, would be needed for anything to pass.

This week, after more than 15 months of breathtaking political pivots, Manchin has reduced Biden’s big ideas for a sweeping investment to just two: Reducing the costs of prescription drugs and shoring up the subsidies some families receive to buy health insurance.

While Manchin and Biden had agreed on a smaller infrastructure bill that eventually became law, the investments the president sought for families and to tackle climate change remain deeply in flux. On Friday, citing the nation’s spiking inflation — as he did last year — Manchin wants another pause.

Here’s a look of what Biden envisioned when he declared America is “arising anew” with his proposals, and what remains within reach with Manchin.


Manchin stunned Washington again this week when it was disclosed that he wanted to drastically reduce the scope of revived package he was negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Democrats are racing to prop up Biden’s signature domestic proposal ahead of the midterm elections, and narrowed on a $1 trillion package — far smaller than first envisioned and about half the size of the $2 trillion package that passed the House late last year before Manchin walked away from talks.

What Manchin would be willing to do now was two proposals: Reduce the price of prescription drugs by allowing the federal government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies, while capping seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses to $2,000, and put the savings into subsidies that families are relying on to buy their own health care but that are about to expire.

Both are big Democratic priorities and would be consequential for Americans struggling to pay always high health care bills.

But compared to what could have been, they amount to about $300 billion.


Biden’s American Families Plan envisioned a vast investment for the nation’s families.

The cornerstone an enhanced $300 monthly child tax credit, first approved during the pandemic, that for a time was sending extra cast straight into parents’ bank accounts. It substantially reduced poverty and boosted households during the crisis. Biden wanted to extend it.

There was free pre-kindergarten for all, a $200 billion preschool program for 3- and 4-year olds to provide early childhood education and to help working parents juggle child care. Also, a $225 billion national paid family leave program so people could take time off, paid up to $4,000 monthly, at pivotal junctures — births, deaths and to care for loved ones.

Biden wanted to also provide free community college and funds for housing and other basic needs.

Eventually versions of the plan included free dental and vision for seniors, a nod to a top priority from Biden’s one-time rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.


The centerpiece of Biden’s climate change agenda was a $150 billion clean energy plan that would have rewarded power providers that use clean sources and penalized those that don’t.

But that approach had to be scrapped when Manchin objected.

More recently Manchin and Schumer were in talks over a slimmed back package, about $375 billion, of tax incentives and credits that the administration had hoped could achieve similar goals in reducing carbon emissions.

But that, too, is now scrapped. Manchin, among the post powerful coal state senators, prefers a “fuel neutral” approach that doesn’t hurt his home state industry.

While Biden, Manchin and others had successfully negotiated the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law last year, it, too, fell short of the administration’s climate goals.

Rather than a massive $174 billion investment in electric vehicles and a network of charging stations, the bipartisan compromise provided $7.5 billion for electric vehicles with fewer charging stations, along with money for electric school buses.


To be sure, the bipartisan infrastructure bill Manchin signed on to with Biden and the others made substantial investments in roads, bridges, broadband — all areas where Congress typically can find some agreement.

Yet even that bill, a hard-fought compromise, is much smaller than the White House envisioned in many areas — it provided half as much, $55 billion, as the administration wanted for removing lead pipes.


Other Democratic priorities that rose and fell during more than a year of negotiations over Biden’s once sweeping vision are long gone.

Also no longer on the table are the tax hikes on wealthy Americans and corporations that Biden and his party envisioned, in different variations, to pay for his big plan.

Biden had proposed raising the tax rate on those earning more than $400,000 a year, $450,000 for couples, back to 39.6% where it was before the 2017 GOP tax cuts. He wanted to lift the corporate rate to 28%.

In talks Democrats considered other options — a corporate minimum tax or a tax on billionaires.

It wasn’t Manchin who necessarily stopped those options. In fact, he supported some. But another Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had been a key hold out to many proposals for higher taxes.

Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

Florida police search for 3 gunmen who wounded 9 at crowded beach on Memorial Day

Police are responding to a shooting near the beach broadwalk in Hollywood, Florida.

2 days ago

Crew members assemble the main stage ahead of the 2023 Scripps Nations Spelling Bee on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Exclusive secrets of the National Spelling Bee: Picking the words to identify a champion

As the final pre-competition meeting of the Scripps National Spelling Bee's word selection panel stretches into its seventh hour, the pronouncers no longer seem to care.

2 days ago

FILE - Gabby Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt, wipes a tear from her face during a news conference o...

Associated Press

Mother of man who killed Gabby Petito said in letter she would help son ‘dispose of a body’

The mother of the man who killed Gabby Petito told her son in an undated letter that she would “dispose of a body” if needed because she loved him so much, according to copies of the note shared publicly for the first time this week by attorneys for Petito's parents.

5 days ago

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags in front of e...

Associated Press

5 things to know about Memorial Day including its controversies

Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members, but it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of discounts on anything from mattresses to lawn mowers.

5 days ago

FILE - This artist sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, left, as he test...

Associated Press

Officers describe chaos, fear on Jan. 6 as judge weighs prison time for Oath Keepers’ Rhodes

Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and public servants who fled the mob's attack told a judge on Wednesday that they are still haunted by what they endured, as the judge prepares to hand down sentences in a landmark Capitol riot case.

6 days ago

Pride month merchandise is displayed at the front of a Target store in Hackensack, N.J., Wednesday,...

Associated Press

Target on the defensive after removing LGBTQ+-themed products

Target once distinguished itself as being boldly supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Spinal fusion surgery has come a long way, despite misconceptions

As Dr. Justin Field of the Desert Institute for Spine Care explained, “we've come a long way over the last couple of decades.”

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

All about Manchin: What Biden wanted for US, senator did not