Aug 4, 2022

Manchin defends support for Inflation Reduction Act Transcript

Manchin defends support for Inflation Reduction Act Transcript
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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., defends the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act and claims that it will lower taxes for working-class Americans. Read the transcript here.

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Harris Faulkner: (00:00)
The fate of a massive democratic tax and spending bill was announced last week by senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer. Still hangs in the balance though. Moderate Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema has not yet said whether she will support it. A lot of questions looming over whether the package Democrats are calling the inflation reduction act will actually help American families struggling with rising prices or hurt them. A Wall Street Journal oped argues the inflation reduction act is an insult to used car salesman, adding, like that lemon sitting at the back of the lot, it’s giving a little touch-up, a fresh coat of paint, a reduced price tag, and a bright new description. But it’s still the same car. In focus now, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. Great to have you in focus today.

Joe Manchin: (00:52)
Well, it’s finally good to be with you, Harris. I know we’ve been talking about this for a while. It’s so nice to be with you.

Harris Faulkner: (00:56)
Well, thank you. And we have been talking about this for a while. And in fact, you know what? Let’s start there. How did this deal come about so quickly and so quietly? Because you were a holdout like Kyrsten Sinema.

Joe Manchin: (01:08)
Well, I wasn’t a holdout. I was basically opposed to the BBB at $3.5 trillion. And when it came down to it last December, I just couldn’t do it and I was just upfront and told them I can’t be done and I can’t get there. So, that’s over. But I always wanted to do something I could for my country. And this is all about my country. It’s not about my politics or someone else’s politics or my friends on the Republican side or my friends on the Democrat side, or whoever’s upset with me. It had nothing to do about any of us. This is about what can we do for the country. And right now, inflation is the greatest threat that we have. It’s hurting every West Virginian, I can assure you. At the gas pump, at the food store, and their energy bills, and just their daily lives. And if we have a chance… And I’ve said this all along. If I ever had a chance to have an energy policy that was balanced and we could basically make sure we’re producing more energy for what we have rather than going around the world, asking other people to produce for us, shouldn’t we do that? Isn’t that something we all wanted? And that’s what we got out of this. It’s a great bill.

Harris Faulkner: (02:09)
And I’ve read the part about what West Virginia could see in terms of energy. We’ll get into that in a second, but I want to hit what you said, because you are absolutely right. Everybody’s focused on inflation right now. Every poll shows it. So, I’m looking at the Penn Wharton budget model, which you, Senator, have been known to watch it examined the details of the Schumer Manchin deal. And actually, it said something very different than you just said. It said that the impact on inflation, this is a quote, the impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero through 2031. Penn Wharton modelers are saying, we don’t agree with those who think deficit reduction will lead in a straight line to lower inflation, but that’s what the Democrats claim for their bill. So, both things can’t be true. And this is something that they’re studying. So, are you wrong or are you not giving all of the hard truth to Americans about what this is going to cost them in terms of inflation?

Joe Manchin: (03:08)
Let’s say maybe they’re wrong. Okay? There’s other ones that said absolutely different than that. Moody’s has said different. And you have the Bob Otterson budget policies. Maya McGuinness and her group came out. We had 17 Nobel laureates last year when I said inflation is real, it’s going to be here, and it’s going to hurt us immensely. They says, “Oh, no, no, it’s going to be transitory.” And 17 of the brightest in the country were wrong.

Harris Faulkner: (03:32)
So, let me ask you specifically what cuts inflation in this bill?

Joe Manchin: (03:36)
Let me ask you this. How in the world could it be inflation when you’re cutting… My Republican friends always say, we got to start paying down debt. I’ve been a budget hawk my whole life. We’re paying down $300 billion. You’re saying massive expenses? 3.5 trillion BBB is massive expenses-

Harris Faulkner: (03:52)
All right. You asked me a direct question, so I’m going to answer you. So, how is it not a straight line? Because I’m not saying, and even Penn, Wharton isn’t saying that it won’t eventually get there in a jagged line. But you know how it doesn’t? Because we are cooking a higher rate of inflation right now ahead of wages. And even if everybody were to go out and get a job or two or three jobs right now, their wages can’t keep up with what the cost of milk, bread, gas, so on and so forth.

Joe Manchin: (04:16)
Well, don’t you think we ought to get those costs down? How do you do that? By producing. You’ve got to produce your way out of this. You can’t sit back and wait your way out of it.

Harris Faulkner: (04:23)
So, you’re going to open pipelines?

Joe Manchin: (04:24)
Absolutely. We’re going to build pipelines. We’re going to do more drilling.

Harris Faulkner: (04:28)
How are you going to sell that to the president to the United States who on day one-

Joe Manchin: (04:31)
It’s already been sold. It’s already been sold and bought.

Harris Faulkner: (04:33)
Flipped the switch.

Joe Manchin: (04:34)
It’s already been, it’s part of the deal. It’s part of the bill. All you have to do is read the bill, Harris, and you’ll see. You’re not going to be able to do any more offshore wind or onshore solar and wind, unless we’re absolutely doing more production with drilling and extraction. It’s all part of a balanced approach. We need more energy today, and we also need to invest in the energy for the future. This is a balanced approach that everyone’s been talking about, but everyone’s upset for whatever reason because they’re afraid it’s a political bill. This is not a Democrat bill, this is not a Republican bill, this is not a green deal. This is a red, white, and blue deal, Harris. And everyone’s having a hard time understanding that we can walk and chew them and do the great thing together if we’ll still start looking at our country first and quit worrying about our politics.

Harris Faulkner: (05:23)
Look, what they see is a Senator who they thought was moderate, who might push back on some of the talk about-

Joe Manchin: (05:29)
I have pushed back on everything, Harris.

Harris Faulkner: (05:30)
Forcing us into a green situation.

Joe Manchin: (05:32)
I have pushed back on everything.

Harris Faulkner: (05:34)
Let’s talk taxes.

Joe Manchin: (05:35)
And if you think I’m going to roll over, I’ve been at this for 40 years. I have never, ever, ever been pushed into doing something I didn’t think was right for my state or my country.

Harris Faulkner: (05:44)
Let’s talk taxes. Another criticism is that this will raise taxes. The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this when asked about Biden’s position. Let’s watch.

Peter Doocy: (05:55)
So, he promised it wasn’t going to make it… That it wasn’t going to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year. But the joint committee on taxation says that is not true.

Karine Jean-Pierre: (06:06)
Well, that is incorrect.

Peter Doocy: (06:07)
So, the joint committee on taxation, which you guys heralded as an effective body when you were selling that infrastructure package, is not to be trusted here?

Karine Jean-Pierre: (06:19)
I said it is not correct because I’ll give you why it’s not correct, because it is incomplete.

Harris Faulkner: (06:25)
We got to know the bottom line on taxes. I mean, it-

Joe Manchin: (06:28)
Let me tell you the bottom line on that, Harris. If you want to know the bottom line, the joint committee on taxation? That opinion was only written by my friends on the Republican side. It was not done by the whole joint committee. So, that is unfair, too. So, let’s be accurate what we’re doing here. The bottom line is how in the world can you be raising taxes, when all we’re saying is the wealthiest corporations in America, 55 of them pay zero to help this great country of ours to defend ourselves.

Harris Faulkner: (06:55)
Well, how does this change that? Because that’s part of the corporate [inaudible 00:06:59], right?

Joe Manchin: (06:59)
It’s a minimum 15%. It’s a minimum of 15%. The tax rate was at 35% before 2017.

Harris Faulkner: (07:06)

Joe Manchin: (07:06)
Then it went to 21%. That was a tremendous savings, but that’s not good enough I guess. All we’re saying is, at 15% minimum, everyone in West Virginia I know, and most people around the country, pay a 21% corporate or greater. So, why can’t the greatest billion dollars of revenue a year, why can’t they pay at least 15% for this great country?

Harris Faulkner: (07:30)
Are you trying to also say, because this is the part that counts. I mean, people look at their corporations and they know they’ve got great tax accountants, heck, they have complete departments trying to come up with ways to find loopholes and keep-

Joe Manchin: (07:43)
And we’re changing that.

Harris Faulkner: (07:43)
And to hire people as well. I mean, let’s not forget that too. But $400,000 was supposed to be the cutoff and I’m reading… And I am reading, Senator, that it’s below that now.

Joe Manchin: (07:55)
Who’s paying any taxes? Who’s paying any taxes that doesn’t have a corporation that has revenue of over a billion dollars a year? Not one person. Not one person, Harris. You’re assuming because they’ll pass that on. The companies were paying zero, now they have to pay-

Harris Faulkner: (08:12)
No, no, no. I’m asking a different question than you’re answering. I’m saying Americans, $400,000 and below now, are going to be taxed. Their taxes are going to go up.

Joe Manchin: (08:21)
That’s wrong. That’s a lie. That is a pure, outright lie.

Harris Faulkner: (08:24)
So, their taxes are not going to go up.

Joe Manchin: (08:25)
Not at all. And you know one thing? How about the people that are going to be saving as far as on their Medicare $288 billion who are paying higher prices than they should. They didn’t even assume that in the revaluation. They didn’t talk about any of that. How about if gasoline prices go down because we’re producing more oil to make more gasoline?

Harris Faulkner: (08:42)
Well, and those are going to fluctuate. Already, experts are saying we could go right back up before Labor Day. But I want to hit that tax line again of 400,000.

Joe Manchin: (08:50)
Be optimistic. Be an American, Harris. Be an American.

Harris Faulkner: (08:50)
I got to hit that. Are you saying that Mitch McConnell and others in the Senate are wrong about those numbers and that Americans’ taxes are not going to go up beyond that point?

Joe Manchin: (08:59)
Totally, absolutely wrong. Totally wrong. And here’s the thing. They’re looking at it through political lenses. Look at it through the American lens.

Harris Faulkner: (09:06)
I’m just asking questions.

Joe Manchin: (09:08)
I’m just answering questions.

Harris Faulkner: (09:09)

Joe Manchin: (09:10)
I want to answer these questions because what you’re asking and the facts you have are completely wrong.

Harris Faulkner: (09:15)
Well, you guys are in the same chamber, so it’ll be interesting when you finally get to stir in the stew here what it’s really going to be like. I want to get to this. You gave some interviews over the weekend on Sunday shows. And at one point, you were asked the question on whether or not you would like to see Democrats do much, much better than what their forecast to do right now based on the numbers. 98 days away from the midterms. Did you Dodge the question when you said so I can work with either-

Joe Manchin: (09:41)
I didn’t dodge it at all. I never dodge a question.

Harris Faulkner: (09:42)
Let’s roll the tape. Let’s roll the tape.

Joe Manchin: (09:44)
Hold on. Let me give you an answer.

Harris Faulkner: (09:45)
Let’s roll the tape.

Chuck: (09:46)
Do you hope Democrats keep control of the House and Senate?

Joe Manchin: (09:51)
I think people are sick and tired of politics, Chuck. But I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen.

Chuck: (09:55)
I’m not asking you to predict.

Joe Manchin: (09:56)
I just want to make sure we do something good. And this-

Chuck: (09:58)
What result do you want? Do you want the Democrats to keep control of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives?

Joe Manchin: (10:05)
I’m not making those choices or decisions on that. I’m going to work with whatever I have.

Chuck: (10:10)
You don’t care about the outcome this year?

Joe Manchin: (10:12)
Whatever the voters choose. I can’t decide what’s going to happen.

Harris Faulkner: (10:15)
That wasn’t dodge ball?

Joe Manchin: (10:17)
That’s not a dodge ball. I’m not getting involved in the political. This is not a political piece of legislation. This is an American legislation. We need energy. We need to pay down debt. We need to accelerate our permitting process so we can build things and meet the challenges.

Harris Faulkner: (10:32)
Yeah, but the elections are going to need some help. You got a president whose approval rating-

Joe Manchin: (10:35)
I am not going to make a statement on that.

Harris Faulkner: (10:37)
Is like as low as Congress’s.

Joe Manchin: (10:41)
Well, can’t we all do something great? Are you afraid-

Harris Faulkner: (10:42)
I mean, no offense, but you know that when you get into the 30s, no one’s that popular, and that’s this president.

Joe Manchin: (10:46)
Harris, are you scared we’re going to do something good or help our country?

Harris Faulkner: (10:48)
Of course not.

Joe Manchin: (10:48)
And someone might take credit for it?

Harris Faulkner: (10:51)
My father served. Are you kidding? Service is in the Bible?

Joe Manchin: (10:53)
Well, it sounds like you are.

Harris Faulkner: (10:53)
That’s what we do. We serve our fellow man and woman. Of course.

Joe Manchin: (10:57)
That’s exactly what I’m doing. Exactly, Harris.

Harris Faulkner: (11:00)
Don’t make this personal because it’s not. I’m simply asking that you’ve got a president who can’t really help anybody on the campaign trail with the numbers he’s rocking right now.

Joe Manchin: (11:08)
Well, let me just tell you this.

Harris Faulkner: (11:08)
And so to have you say something like that, it doesn’t sound supportive of your own party. And I’m asking why.

Joe Manchin: (11:12)
And let me just say this. I’m working with what I have here in the majority party that we have is a Democratic party. I’m working with a president who’s accepted the proposal I’ve put forward and negotiated, which is a balanced energy policy. That’s wonderful for our country. I know people who don’t like the president or don’t like Democrats might be upset. This is not about whether you like the president or whether you like Democrats. Do you like America? Do you want us to succeed as a country? Do you want to fight inflation? This bill does it.

Harris Faulkner: (11:41)
Real quickly, the president of the United States, do you want to see him run in 2024?

Joe Manchin: (11:46)
I am not talking about 2022, I’m not talking about 2024.

Harris Faulkner: (11:51)

Joe Manchin: (11:51)
I’m talking about the American bill we have, the inflation reduction act, which is a red, white, and blue bill. This is a great bill and I wish my friends would look at it for what it is.

Harris Faulkner: (12:01)
Well, when we get CBO scores and when we get the things on this and if it shows that those taxes are going back for Americans below 400,000-

Joe Manchin: (12:09)
You tell me. Sure.

Harris Faulkner: (12:10)
You got to come back, we got to talk about it.

Joe Manchin: (12:12)
I’m happy to come back and talk.

Harris Faulkner: (12:13)
Because that’s the part that’s really going to hurt people. Nancy Pelosi on the ground in Taipei, just a few seconds. Senator, your thoughts.

Joe Manchin: (12:20)
I think it was great what she did. I think basically we’ve all been there. I’ve been there. Mostly everybody in Congress has been there. They’ve been great allies. They’re great working partners. And why would we not support those who support democracies and freedoms that we have? It just makes no sense to me at all. And it’s not a threat. Trust me, Nancy is not a threat to China by saying that we support Taiwan. We want them to succeed and they are great trading partners of us and we appreciate the freedoms they love. Same as we do.

Harris Faulkner: (12:48)
Amen to all of that. Senator Joe Manchin from the great state of West Virginia, I look forward to the future conversations we will have.

Joe Manchin: (12:55)
Absolutely. Look to facts and now make sure you see the facts and see who’s writing what.

Harris Faulkner: (12:59)
You know I’m reading.

Joe Manchin: (12:59)

Harris Faulkner: (12:59)
You know I am.

Joe Manchin: (12:59)
All right. Thank you, Harris.

Harris Faulkner: (13:02)
I’m a recovering perfectionist. Good to see you.

Joe Manchin: (13:04)
There you go.

Harris Faulkner: (13:04)
Thank you.

Joe Manchin: (13:04)

Will Cain: (13:05)
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