On The Money: Manchin floats breaking up Biden’s infrastructure proposal | New home sales jump more than 20 percent in March

On The Money: Manchin floats breaking up Biden’s infrastructure proposal | New home sales jump more than 20 percent in March

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THE BIG DEAL—Manchin floats breaking up Biden’s infrastructure proposal: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: White House sees GOP infrastructure plan as starting point | Biden to propose capital gains tax hike House approves bill to make DC a state NRA unveils ad campaign to push back on Biden’s gun agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) said on Friday that Congress should focus on “conventional” infrastructure and floated breaking up President BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis ‘existential’ threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE‘s sweeping plan.

Manchin, speaking at a press conference with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), said the administration and Congress should take Biden’s plan “step by step” and focus first on areas that could get bipartisan support like water, roads, bridges and the internet.

“What we think the greatest need we have now, that can be done in a bipartisan way, is conventional infrastructure whether it’s the water, sewer, roads, bridges, Internet — things that we know need to be repaired, be fixed,” Manchin said.

“Why don’t you take the greatest need that we have and do it on something that we all agree on?” Manchin added.

The background: 

  • Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal includes money for roads and bridges, broadband, rail and water systems but also includes funding for in-home care, housing, clean energy, public schools and manufacturing.
  • A group of Republicans unveiled a $568 billion counteroffer to Biden’s plan on Thursday that would focus more narrowly on roads and bridges, public transit systems, rail, wastewater infrastructure, airports and broadband infrastructure.
  • While the White House welcomed the proposal as a starting point of a discussion, it sparked division among Senate Democrats, with several dismissing it as too small to be a serious offer.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney has more here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

New home sales jump more than 20 percent in March: New home sales rose 20.7 percent in March as the torrid housing market reignited, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.

  • Sales of new single-family homes rose sharply last month after declining more than 16 percent in February due to harsh winter weather. 
  • The U.S. would have seen more than 1 million new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted basis if March’s rate of sales lasted an entire year — the fastest rate since 2006.

“February saw much worse than normal winter weather and this kept homebuyers indoors, while more seasonable March weather coaxed them back outside,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, in a Friday analysis.

I break it down here.

The background: Home sales and housing prices have skyrocketed since last spring as ultra-low interest rates, a flood of federal stimulus and the widespread adoption of telework pushed more buyers into the market. The rush of demand, severe lumber shortages and months of construction limitations has also exacerbated a severe housing shortage, driving the fastest increase in housing prices since the early 2000s.

  • There were roughly 307,000 new houses for sale at the end of March, enough to cover three months of demand at last month’s rate of sales. 
  • The median sale price for a new home was $330,800, and the average sale price was $397,000.

“Some buyers are finding themselves priced out, especially first-time buyers trying to compete in hot housing markets. More renters will be unable to become homeowners if supply, especially at the lower end of the market, does not come on line this year,” wrote Yelena Maleyev, economist at Grant Thornton.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on fighting climate change and spurring green energy development through the tax code at 10 a.m.
  • A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on COVID-19-related scams at 10 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a Member Day hearing at 12 p.m.
  • A Senate Finance subcommittee holds a hearing on creating opportunity through a fairer tax system at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on “The Dignity of Work” at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on Social Security during the COVID-19 pandemic at 10 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on closing the racial and gender wealth gaps at 12 p.m.
  • A House Ways and Means subcommittee holds a hearing on infrastructure investments at 1:30 p.m. 

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Five big players to watch in Big Tech’s antitrust fight
  • Louisiana’s GOP-controlled state House adopted a resolution this week praising Bitcoin and encouraging state and local governments to utilize the increasingly popular cryptocurrency. 
  • The Atlantic: “There’s No Such Thing as a Low-Skill Worker”
  • Bloomberg News: “Wall Street’s Trillion-Dollar ESG Club Comes With Huge Tax Perks”
  • Mitsubishi is planning to cut production at its plants worldwide next month due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips that has rocked the automotive industry.

 

ODDS AND ENDS