Manchin and Schumer announce surprise deal on climate, healthcare and tax package

Sen. Joe Manchin announced on Wednesday that he had reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – who had eluded them for months – on health care costs, energy and climate issues.

The package will be paid for by closing tax loopholes on wealthy individuals and large corporations, Schumer and Manchin said when the deal was announced.

The health, tax and energy package must be reviewed by the Senate parliamentarian to go through the budget reconciliation process, which allows Democrats to approve the measure with 50 votes. In a joint statement, Schumer and Manchin said “the revised legislative text will be submitted to the congressman for consideration tonight and the full Senate will consider it next week.”

President Joe Biden said in a statement Wednesday that he had spoken to Manchin and Schumer and supported the deal.

“If signed into law, this legislation will be historic, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill as soon as possible, and the House to follow as well,” Biden said.

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat whose resistance had long derailed sweeping legislation on these issues, abruptly revealed the deal in a press release, followed by a joint statement with Schumer.

Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., speaks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, before an event in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the House campus Blanche in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Manchin’s announcement came hours after the Senate passed the Flea and Science Act, a bill to subsidize investment in the domestic production of semiconductor chips. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had threatened to thwart the semiconductor bill if Democrats continued to pursue party-line reconciliation legislation.

“From now on, the debate on a future reconciliation bill or any targeted legislation must focus on supporting the hard-working, everyday Americans we were elected to serve,” Manchin said in a statement. “I support the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 because it offers a responsible path, focused on solving our country’s major economic, energy and climate problems. The question for my colleagues is whether they are ready to put their electoral politics aside and adopt the common sense approach that the overwhelming majority of the American people support and will best serve the future of this nation.”

According to a one-page description of the legislation by Schumer and Manchin, the bill would invest $369 billion in energy security and climate change and extend the Affordable Care Act program for three years. In addition, the legislation would grant Medicare the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday noted the finality of the deal.

“The good news here is that it’s Senator Manchin announcing a deal, not that they’re close to a deal or there are parties to a deal,” she said.

House progressives also seemed optimistic, Tweeter“We will have to assess the details, but it is promised that an agreement on these issues could finally be within reach.”

Republicans immediately criticized the Manchin deal. Senator John Cornyn of Texas called it “Manchin’s New Build Back Broke Bill”.

“Senate Democrats can change the name of Build Back Broke as many times as they want, it will be no less devastating to American families and small businesses,” Cornyn said. “Raising taxes on job creators, crushing energy producers with new regulations and stifling innovators looking for new cures will only make this recession worse, not better.”

– Jack Turman and Nikole Killion of CBS News contributed to this report

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