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Transcript: Sen. Joe Manchin on "Face the Nation," July 31, 2022

Manchin: Climate and tax deal "all about" fighting inflation
Manchin says climate and tax deal "all about" fighting inflation 09:40

The following is a transcript of an interview with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia that aired on Sunday, July 31, 2022, on "Face the Nation."

JOHN DICKERSON: We go now to West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. Senator, welcome. I hope you're feeling better from the COVID. Let me start with a- with a--

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: --John, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me start with something you said back in 2010 in a debate when you were running for Senate, here's what you said:

SEN. JOE MANCHIN SOT: "I don't think during the time of recession, you mess with any of the taxes or increase any taxes."

JOHN DICKERSON: So that's become the- your Republican colleagues favorite quote to roll out now that you've made this agreement with Chuck Schumer that has a tax piece to it. Why did you change your mind?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: John, I didn't change my not- my mind, I've never changed at all this is fighting inflation. This is all about the- the absolute horrible position that people are in now because of the inflation costs, whether it be gasoline, whether it be food pricing, whether it be energy pricing, and it's around energy, mostly that's driving these high inflation. This is going to do- take care of that, because this is aggressively producing more energy to get more supply to get the prices down. That's what we're doing. But we didn't raise taxes, John, the taxes were- the corporate tax in America in 2017, before the Republican tax cut was 35%. They cut it to 21% 14% reduction. All the people that I know are paying 21% or more. All the even larger corporations, but some of the largest corporations of a billion dollars of value or more don't even want to pay the minimum of 15%. 

JOHN DICKERSON: So, this is an issue of fairness?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: It's basically closing-- this is a fairness in closing a loophole. So, I'm not raising any taxes. I never thought that people weren't paying at least 21. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about--

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: --And I don't know why. I mean, we went- go ahead I'm sorry.

JOHN DICKERSON: On the raising- Okay, so I understand what you're saying about closing loopholes. But the Republican criticism, which attaches to what you said in 2010, is, when you increase taxes, by closing loopholes, you hurt supply, and during inflation, you want a lot of supply. And so even though this might not be a tax increase relative to previous rates, the taxes for certain companies will go up, which will make them produce more so the theory goes, and that will hurt inflation.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Let me just say this, John, in the last two years, there have been massive record profits across the board by these largest corporations, massive record profits, and it's been the lowest capital expenditure in the last few years, so that didn't drive it. What they've all told me was we want security, we want to have some type of pathway forward in permitting and regulations. They're strangling us. And this is what we're doing. We're streamlining the regulations that people have to live within. It- basically accelerating how we get things to market, how quick we can produce things, how quick we can basically produce more energy, and how we can develop more technology. And using that for our benefit. We're talking about also batteries for electric cars. If you want to get a discount on an electric car by buying an EV, the battery better be made in America, better be sourced in North America, it better be processed. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Your Republican colleagues think you and Chuck Schumer did something underhanded by essentially, it looked like there wasn't going to be anything big passed and then set and then you changed course worked out something with Schumer. Senator Cornyn, the Republican from Texas, said that that unveiling this agreement between you and Senator Schumer was "a declaration of political warfare."

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: It's such a shame. John Cornyn is a good friend of mine. He's such a good man. And for the politics to be so toxic right now. First of all, I never thought this would come to fruition. I never spoke with anybody about any of my colleagues, because they were frustrated that nothing happened for so long. On the other, I never could get the Build Back Better, which is a three and a half trillion-dollar spending bill. This is a $400 billion investment bill. And everything my Republicans talked about reducing the amount of debt that we have- we're paying down $300 billion- first time in 25 years, they gotta like that. And next of all, they wanted more energy, I want more energy, we're going to be producing more energy. There's an agreement that we're going to be drilling and doing more than we can to bring more energy to the market that reduces prices. They like that. I mean, it's and there's going to be a streamlining of permitting John, but they got to like that so well. I'm hoping they just- take cool off. Take a good look at the bill. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Their argument is and this matters because you are working with Republicans on other pieces of legislation and Susan Collins, one of those Republicans you're working with says that this, this break of trust, which is what they're calling it, you made certain representations they would say to Republicans and broke your trust, she said Susan Collins said it's a very unfortunate move that delay  –  that that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are underway. In other words, whether it's on election reform, or same sex marriage that that the well has been poisoned.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Well, here's the thing, I think Susan Collins is, you know, my very dear friend, we work almost on everything together. But the thing of it, I never told anybody that I wasn't going to do something. If I had a chance to fix the energy policy of the United States of America, and I didn't do it, shame on me. If I had the chance to reduce the amount of inflation and people in West Virginia and across the country are enduring right now. Shame on me. And I never thought they would come to an agreement and use a dual path and basically recognizing within this administration, working with President Biden's administration and working with Chuck Schumer, and all of them who basically were going a different direction, and were very upset with me for so long that they would ever sit down. But I guess, you know, this thing is bigger, become truly horrible for the families all across America. So now to have a piece of legislation, that we have energy, and we have investments for new energy, but basically, that's a responsibility. You can walk and chew gum, you have a balanced approach. These are solutions Americans want. We were able to provide these solutions. Let's not make them political, John. 

JOHN DICKERSON: You and Senator Schumer have a deal. A lot of Democrats who used to be very angry at you are suddenly now saying nice things about you, Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Have you talked to Senator Sinema whose vote is still unknown on these bills? And where do you think she'll go? Because if she doesn't vote for it, it doesn't happen.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN:  Yeah, Senator Sinema is a dear friend of mine. And we've worked very close together on so many pieces of legislation. And she's- she's so involved in this legislation. When you think about it, she's the one that really negotiated and worked very hard on getting Medicare allowing them to negotiate for lower drug prices saving $288 billion. That's tremendous, which I support her completely on that she's always been adamant about we're not going to be raising taxes. And I agree with her wholeheartedly. I made very, very, very carefully evaluations that we wouldn't raise any taxes. That was the last scrub that was done. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Have you tried to lobby her?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: No, I don't. We don't. I've never lobbied my- my colleagues on that. I just basically put the facts out try to answer questions. I'm always trying to negotiate with them if- if they want and I tried to and sometimes we don't get there. They get frustrated. But we're always looking at the next opportunity to improve the quality of life in America. And that's what we're doing. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Finally, Senator, there was a vote on a bill this week that would provide health care to millions of veterans exposed to toxic fumes in burn pits during their deployments. Republicans who had previously voted for it, voted against it. Pat Toomey, Republican from Pennsylvania, who will be on who you've worked with extensively in your career is worried that it adds to the deficit. That's something you care about. Does Pat Toomey have a point here? 

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Sure. Well, Pat Toomey is going to get a- he's gonna get an amendment. He- he'll have a vote on that. So Pat, come on, let's go. Let's put- put it out there, put the facts out there. Pat's a good man and good friend of mine. I'm sorry, he's not going to be running again. And he's leaving the Senate because he's been a quality valued member of the Senate. And he represented Pennsylvania extremely well. So he's been a friend. We're going to work through this. I haven't seen the amendment. I'm – I'll be briefed tomorrow morning on it and everything. But Pat is going to get his amendment and let's see where it goes.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator Joe Manchin, thanks for being with us. Face the Nation back in one minute. Stay with us.

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