Sen. Joe Manchin Tuesday said Democrats' proposal for banks to report the inflows and outflows of many bank accounts to the IRS is "screwed up" and won't be in the final bill, despite what many Democrats in Congress had hoped.
"I said, ‘Do you understand how messed up that is to think that Uncle Sam is going to be watching?’" Manchin, D-W.Va., said he told President Biden during their meeting Sunday. "I said, Mr. President, I don't know what happened. This cannot happen. This is screwed up."
Manchin made the comments at an event for the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Manchin described bewildered Biden staffers who were, "all looking at each other back and forth, 'Who in the hell did this one?'"
Manchin said the president said, "I think Joe's right on that."
"So I think this one's gonna be gone," Manchin said, meaning the proposal won't be included Democrats' final reconciliation bill.
Manchin's comments follow efforts from Democrats in the past two weeks to push the proposal, which has been championed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, not only to fund their bill but also to close the tax gap.
The proposal initially would have applied to all bank accounts with more than $600 inflows and outflows over the course of a year. Banks would be required to send the IRS how much money went into the account and how much came out over the period of a year.
But after massive backlash, Democrats said it would only apply to people who get $10,000 in deposits to their bank accounts that are not wages per year, or who spend at least $10,000 more than their wages per year.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., defended the proposal on Tuesday after being asked about Manchin's comments. But he and Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., appeared to leave the door open to ditching the proposal for other revenue raisers.
"North of 95% of everyday Americans, who are salaried employees, who work nine to five jobs, pay their taxes because of deductions that are taken out on a weekly basis," Jeffries said in response to a question from Fox News. "We do need to close the tax gap… That tax avoidance [by the rich] is largely taking place by the wealthiest amongst us who've got super lawyers and accountants, and are engaged in a regular practice of trying to avoid paying taxes that they lawfully owe."
Jeffries added: "Figuring out where the common ground is in the House and the Senate is an important part of the process."
"Members have raised similar concerns about this as a burden to small financial institutions. We understand that. But as the chairman mentioned this is about tax avoidance," Aguilar added. "We'll work on the details of what that will look like."
Democrats are scrambling to reach a deal on a framework for their reconciliation bill before President Biden leaves the country Thursday. This, Democratic leaders hope, will allow progressives to stop holding the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage in the House and give the president a victory before he goes to a climate summit in the United Kingdom.
It's not clear that will be possible, as there are still major disagreements on several issues in the sprawling, potentially multi-trillion-dollar bill.