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U.S. Senator Manchin could back climate provisions in slimmer spending bill, sources say

(Reuters) – Key Senate Democrats are working to revive U.S. President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda with a current focus on energy, environment, climate and tax reform rather than the social safety net, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Plans to revive the “Build Back Better” legislation now revolve around talks between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the key Democratic swing vote in the chamber, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the people said.

Manchin, who stymied earlier attempts to pass the bill over concerns about the deficit and inflation, has signaled he could support some climate provisions in a trimmed down version of the bill, including a fee on emissions of the greenhouse gas methane and a carbon border tax, according to two of the people.

The lawmakers hope to resolve the talks on the legislation by the end of June before shifting focus to campaigning ahead of the November midterm elections for control of Congress.

Manchin’s spokesperson, Sam Runyon, did not confirm the reporting, but said the senator “remains seriously concerned about the financial status of our country and believes fighting inflation by restoring fairness to our tax system and paying down our national debt must be our first priority.”