West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told a group of climate activists and energy executives that he is open to restarting talks on a revised Build Back Better package, Axios reports.
Manchin blew up negotiations over President Joe Biden’s signature spending legislation in December and has refused to negotiate about an alternate version ever since.
On Monday, Manchin hinted that he is open to returning to negotiations, albeit for a much smaller bill than the $3.5 trillion package Biden sought.
Manchin during a closed-door dinner hosted by the American Clean Power Association said that he is open to a bill that specifically addresses climate change, prescription drug prices, and deficit reduction.
Manchin previously proposed a $2.2 trillion alternative bill that Democrats initially rejected and that Manchin now says he would not support himself.
Manchin outlines deficit-focused bill:
Manchin in “informal talks” with senators has outlined a package that would raise $1 trillion in new revenue and includes $500 billion in funding for climate programs.
But Manchin opposes Democratic proposals to fund universal pre-K and other “human infrastructure” programs that Biden proposed.
Manchin wants to raise money through new corporate taxes and by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
He wants half of the new revenue to go toward paying down the deficit.
Bill still faces hurdles:
Even if Biden accepts Manchin’s proposal, the bill still faces hurdles in the Senate.
Manchin’s proposal is likely to get pushback from progressive activists and his climate priorities are unlikely to line up with those in the rest of his party that do not represent coal-heavy states.
But the biggest hurdle may be Manchin’s partner in blocking the BBB: Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
While Sinema supports climate funding, she led an effort to drastically shrink the number of drugs Medicare could negotiate in talks last year. She has also ruled out any corporate tax increases, which Manchin sees as key to raising the revenue.