Warner: "I Get To Be In The Middle" Between Sanders And Manchin On Reconciliation Spending Bill | Video | RealClearPolitics

Warner: "I Get To Be In The Middle" Between Sanders And Manchin On Reconciliation Spending Bill

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Sen. Mark Warner, the self-described "only so-called Democratic moderate" on the Senate Budget Committee, described how he will work with Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders to craft a spending bill that could be passed by reconciliation along with a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"I think I'm the only so-called Democratic moderate on the Budget Committee," he told CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday. "I'm prepared to work with Senator Sanders and others to start down the path on a budget reconciliation process."

Warner said he would be happy for the reconciliation package to include tax increases.


"How much a lot of what I will be able to support will be based upon how much additional revenue we can raise," he said. "I probably won't be where Senator Sanders is, but I think there's a lot of worthy goals in his plan."

"I wouldn't be viewed as one of the moderate guys if I wasn't more on a plan that is going to be a little bit more moderate, but is going to also be able to be paid for."

SEN. MARK WARNER: I think I'm the only so-called Democratic moderate on the Budget Committee.

I'm prepared to work with Senator Sanders and others to start down the path on a budget reconciliation process. We got to get all the Democrats on that. I think -- I intend to move forward on that kind of legislation. I was just going through some of the revenue sources, revenue sources that we couldn't use for the infrastructure package, but that can be used on this reconciliation package.

I don't think it's fair -- and I say this is a former business guy, but I don't think it's fair that American businesses are 35 out of 35 industrial nations in terms of lowest amount of taxes paid as a percentage of GDP. I think there's a fairer tax system.

TAPPER: So let me ask you about that, because the chairman of your committee, Bernie Sanders, he has proposed about a $6 trillion price tag for this budget reconciliation bill.

Your fellow Virginian, Tim Kaine, he says that about $4 trillion would be OK with him. Senator Joe Manchin, who worked with you on infrastructure, he seemed to suggest his top line would be $2 trillion.

Where are you?

WARNER: Well, Jake, that's why I get to be in the middle of these negotiations, is to how to find some breakthrough between where Bernie's at, where Joe Manchin is at, how much a lot of what I will be able to support will be based upon how much additional revenue we can raise.

And there are a variety of sources there. But having gone through a number of these negotiations, we put together a bipartisan plan back in December. We called it the $908 billion plan. I just came out of literally weeks on end with my Republican colleagues on this record infrastructure investment.

Now I'm going to switch to where -- again, I probably won't be where Senator Sanders is, but I think there's a lot of worthy goals in his plan. But I find it's better to try to negotiate that with my colleagues, rather than through the press.

TAPPER: Is it -- I hear what you're saying, but is it fair to say that you start off at least somewhere closer to Tim Kaine, your fellow Virginia senator, around $4 trillion?

WARNER: I wouldn't be viewed as one of the moderate guys if I wasn't more on a plan that is going to be a little bit more moderate, but is going to also be able to be paid for.

But one thing, one thing, Jake, I do want to make clear, I absolutely believe, when we see these record high temperatures, not only on the East Coast, but we see record high temperatures in the Northwest and Canada and elsewhere, anyone that denies the reality and the economic duress that is being caused by climate change obviously isn't spending a lot of time outdoors.

This is a once-in-a-generation time, where we can make meaningful changes in terms of climate, to invest in a cleaner grid, invest in cleaner vehicles, in moving towards a clean energy standard. Heck, I'm even open to a phase-in on a carbon tax.

TAPPER: Yes.

WARNER: But if we don't take advantage of really wrestling with climate change in a meaningful way, we're not doing our job.

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