- Manchin has struck a deal to advance Biden's agenda.
- The deal includes prescription drug negotiations, climate programs, and some tax reforms.
- For months, he has swerved on whether he wanted to cut a deal after tanking Biden's agenda.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday to advance a smaller version of President Joe Biden's stalled economic agenda, boosting hopes among Democrats they'll be able to deliver on key priorities on climate initiatives and tax reform before the November midterms.
"Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying, lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination," the conservative Democrat said in a lengthy statement.
Manchin said part of the bill would be paid for with a 15% domestic corporate minimum tax. In addition, the deal includes climate and energy programs that many Democrats had favored.
The White House and Schumer's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agreement provides new momentum for Democrats to resuscitate some elements of Biden's economic agenda, which ran aground in the 50-50 Senate due to Manchin's resistance. He tanked the House-approved Build Back Better bill at the end of last year after months of negotiations that laid bare bitter disagreements between the party's progressive and small but potent moderate wings.
Then Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held a series of private meetings starting in April meant to gauge Manchin's appetite for a smaller bill more tailored to his priorities. He tanked those efforts only earlier this month, arguing he could not back climate programs or tax increases during a stretch of painful inflation.
Senate Democrats can't barrel past united GOP opposition without all 50 Democratic senators on board with a newer spending bill. Negotiations to revive Biden's economic agenda largely subsided over the spring with Democrats' focus shifting toward aiding Ukraine fend off a Russian invasion and another bill to increase US competitiveness with China.
Manchin has pushed to shrink the federal debt, empower Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices as well as combat the climate emergency provided that it doesn't immediately phase out domestic production of oil and natural gas. In addition, he favors lifting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
"There's a responsibility and opportunity that we can do something," he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in May.
Senate Democrats aim to pass a smaller measure before the start of the August recess in only weeks. But they will embark on that endeavor with the same narrow majorities that bedeviled them all along.
This story will be updated.