Will Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) cross the great red-blue divide? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is making a bid for the support of the prominent Democratic centrist on tax reform.
McConnell invited Manchin to his office before the Columbus Day recess to talk about tax legislation and some other issues. Manchin is running for reelection next year in a state that President Trump won in a landslide, so he is a primary target for the GOP as they attempt to garner bipartisan support for their top legislative priority.
Manchin is not the only GOP target. Last month, the president invited Manchin along with two other centrist Democrats to a working dinner at the White House to talk about taxes. Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), who are also up for reelection next year in states won by Trump, were wined and dined for their support.
Manchin has said that he could support a tax reform bill as long as it doesn’t contribute too much to the deficit.
“That deficit bothers us. It really bothers us. So you got to find a combination that works, that’s reasonable, responsible for our kids and grandkids and really works,” Manchin said after the meeting.
Manchin wants to modify Trump’s tax plan by setting the corporate tax rate at 25 percent and setting the rate for pass-through businesses at 30 percent.
Trump and GOP leaders has proposed putting the corporate and pass-through rates at 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Manchin says money stashed overseas should be taxed at 10 percent; Trump’s tax plan didn’t propose a rate for accumulated foreign earnings.
“My concern is I really think that 20 percent is too low — 25 percent corporate … is good,” Manchin said, summarizing his discussion with McConnell.
McConnell has also reached out to Donnelly. The GOP leader spoke to him on the Senate floor. Donnelly told McConnell that he is willing to continue discussing ideas on tax reform. Donnelly traveled with Trump to Indianapolis last month for a speech on tax reform. He said that he pressed the president to support his proposal combating the outsourcing of American jobs.
Most Republican leadership see Manchin as the number one priority. They believe the other centrist Democrats will come on board with tax reform if Manchin makes the leap across the aisle first.
Some Republicans are not so optimistic. “There’s no value to bipartisan. He is never going to vote for that bill unless he’s the 51st, 52nd or 53rd vote. He would never be the 50th vote and everybody knows that so what’s the point?” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has worked with Trump on taxes. Norquist continued, ”So he announced he’s willing to cut a deal at something the White House won’t do in order to sound reasonable but never actually have to cast the [yes] vote?”
So is the effort to woo centrist Democrats worth it or not? Do you think the GOP will be able to get any Democratic votes on their tax reform bill?
Credit: The Hill