US President Joe Biden on Thursday backed away from pledged tax increases to fund planned infrastructure and social spending, and also said he was open to reforming Senate voting rights by “fundamentally altering” its filibuster custom.
In a wide-ranging CNN town hall, Biden said he was close to striking a deal to pass major spending measures after weeks of intraparty bickering among his fellow Democrats.
However, he said that raising corporate tax rates, one of his most oft-cited promises, was unlikely to be part of the legislation. A separate minimum corporate tax proposal could fund the social programs that are at the heart of his domestic agenda, Biden said.
When asked about voting rights, Biden expressed support for changing the Senate filibuster tradition, which requires 60 of 100 US senators to agree on most legislation. That hurdle has left the Democratic party powerless on key social issues given their narrow majority. It “remains to be seen” whether he planned to do away with the filibuster altogether, Biden added.
Taxes were a central issue in Biden's social spending plan, which is the subject of pitched debate on Capitol Hill and in the White House as negotiators look for the sweet spot between progressives wanting an array of new programs and moderates worried about the cost.
The tax compromise could help sell the plan to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has expressed concern about Biden's plan to raise corporate taxes after the Trump administration slashed them from 35 per cent to 21 per cent in 2017.
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