Manchin lays out a Dem bill he can back: Taxes, prescription drugs, climate cash

“If you do that, the revenue producing [measures] would be taxes and drugs. The spending is going to be climate,” Manchin said.

“And the social issues, we basically have to deal with those” afterward, he added.

Though he prefers everything in Congress to be bipartisan, Manchin said he has “come to that conclusion” that changing the tax code to make the rich and corporations pay their fair sure can only be done with Democratic votes. As far as whether he thinks his party finally understands his parameters for joining the talks, he said that Democrats “know where I am. They just basically think that I’m going to change.”

Biden’s State of the Union address called for congressional action on some of the individual portions of the wide-ranging social spending measure that the House passed last year, including drug pricing, child care, tax hikes on the wealthy and climate change. The momentum that Democrats had mustered for their trillion-dollar-plus proposal has mostly evaporated, and some lawmakers are increasingly open to slimmed-down legislation or even standalone bills to address their policy priorities.

And while Manchin said no “formal” talks are happening with the White House, there’s “informal back-and-forth.” He declined to say if he’s spoken to Biden recently about it: “Different White House people reach out, and we talk from time to time.”

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