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Manchin: US Senate rules should remain

Manchin

WHEELING — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin predicts passage of a key infrastructure bill is coming in the Senate, but he indicated he will not be part of any attempt to circumvent Senate rules to make it happen.

“I’m not going to be part of destroying this Senate. I’m just not going to,” he said. “It can be on somebody else’s watch, but not on mine.”

Manchin — the centrist Democrat from West Virginia — now plays a key role in the Senate, split equally between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

He has been outspoken this year about any attempts in the Senate to eliminate the filibuster, or to group a large number of bills into one budget reconciliation bill for consideration. Both of these methods circumvent the need for 60 votes to pass a bill in the 100-member Senate, and require only a simple majority of 50 for passage.

“I tell you, we will have an infrastructure bill of some sort somehow,” Manchin said. “I really believe that.

“I’ve talked to (President Joe Biden) quite a few times on this,” he added. “He said he wants it to go through the process. And you’ve heard of so many people trying to circumvent the process.”

The $2 trillion American Jobs Plan Biden proposed contains $621 billion for infrastructure improvements nationwide, which would be paid for by raising the corporate sales tax from 21% to 28%.

Manchin termed a rate of 25% “a fair rate,” and he said maybe no hikes would be necessary if the system of reporting and collecting taxes were improved.

“It is a competitive international rate, and you have to be competitive,” he said. “The United States has to compete with the world. It’s a global market, and there are a lot of loopholes that can be corrected.”

Manchin said there also is a lot of tax revenue that is not collected, and should be.

“On an annual basis, it can be as much as $400 billion to $500 billion a year that’s not collected,” he said.

This is because the IRS “has been gutted,” according to Manchin.

“Computer systems there need to be updated and revamped,” he said. “We don’t have enough agents, and you don’t hear of a lot of audits going on. We need to get back to what is really important, and have everybody pay their fair share. It’s always the average working people and that below. The really high-end earning people don’t report the way you and I do.”

“Hopefully, We won’t have to do tax hikes. We will just have to tax adjustments to make it fair,” he said.

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