Rep. Katie Porter (D-California) condemned conservative Democrats’ opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill “fiscally irresponsible” on MSNBC on Thursday.
Porter’s comments came as other Democrats, progressives and the White House have emphasized that the bill is already fully funded and contains a myriad of vital proposals for the American public.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, Porter called out Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) in particular for his spurious criticisms of the bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag. Manchin has been one of the loudest voices opposing the reconciliation package — as well the rest of the Democratic agenda.
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“I think it’s dead-on fiscally irresponsible for Senator Manchin to refuse to raise revenue and at the same time out of the other side of his mouth — maybe the side of his mouth that he uses to talk to his corporate donors — complain that we can’t pay for the things that American families desperately need,” Porter said.
Manchin wrote an op-ed last week announcing his opposition to the price tag, citing worries about the national debt. Those concerns are spurious, however, when the Democrats’ revenue raisers for the bill are taken into account. As the rest of the Democratic caucus and the White House has pointed out continually over the past months, the infrastructure bill contains tax reforms that pay for the entire bill.
“This package adds nothing to the debt,” said White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on CNN this week. “It is fully paid for by raising taxes on wealthy people” and corporations, he said.
As progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have pointed out, Manchin’s true motivations for opposing the package may be more sinister than he’s portraying in public. The West Virginia senator has known ties to Wall Street and corporate influences, including Exxon lobbyists. His group of bipartisan senators, which also have known lobbyist ties, was responsible for cutting the major tax proposals and funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from the infrastructure bill.
“The very same people who are complaining that we can’t afford to make investments in regular American families are the same ones who are trying to shield the tax cheats of this country. So they can’t have it both ways,” Porter said Thursday.
“I’d like to see Senator Joe Manchin come out in favor of fully funding the IRS, in favor of having a fair global corporate tax system. And once we’ve raised that revenue, then I’m willing to talk to him about what we need to do to create a budget bill that meets his goal and his definition of being fiscally responsible,” she continued.
Porter also pointed out that, aside from moderate raises to both the top marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans and a corporate tax hike, there are also other Democratic proposals to raise revenue that lawmakers have introduced over the past months.
“If something costs A, then you have two options. You can negotiate down from A, or you can find the money,” Porter said. “There are a huge number of corporations that are paying zero taxes,” she said. Porter pointed to proposals like Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Massachusetts) Real Corporate Profits Tax Act, which would tax companies based on profits reported to their shareholders rather than profits reported to the government, could help raise $700 billion to pay for the bill.
“I have the will to do it,” Porter continued. “The question is, does Senator Manchin? Or is he more concerned about his corporate donors, including large corporations, the oil and gas companies, the big pharmaceutical companies, and others, who are getting away with paying nothing in our current tax system.”